The Hellenic-American Medical Society of Southern California (HAMDS) was founded in 1980 in Los Angeles, California.
Its founding was initiated by James G. Kallins, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist, practicing in the community for 40 years. The first president of the Society was George C. Emmanouilides, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine. Other founding members were Demetrios N. Halikis, M.D, chief pathologist, California Hospital; the late Michael Halikis, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist; Rodanthi Kitridou, M.D., Professor of Medicine, USC School of Medicine; Vasilios Lambros, M.D., neurosurgeon; Theodore Markellos, M.D., psychiatrist; and Michael Patzakis, M.D., Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, USC School of Medicine. In 1985 the Society accepted to its membership dentists and changed its name to its current one, HAMDS.
In 1983 the Society, in conjunction with the Department of Pathology at UCLA and the Los Angeles Cancer Society, sponsored a one day scientific symposium commemorating the 100th birthday of Dr. George Papanicolaou. A number of local and national leaders in cancer research participated in the program. Following the meeting, the Society and the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce of Southern California honored the late Telly Savalas for his achievements as an actor and prominent Hellene. Proceeds from the event were used to establish of an endowed George Papanicolaou Chair at UCLA School of Medicine.
In 1986, in commemoration of the 80th birthday of S. James (Sparky) Vamvas, D.D.S., Professor Emeritus of the USC School of Dentistry and Oral Surgery, the first tribute dinner-dance was held at the Saint Sophia Cathedral Center. Chaired by Sam Harkiss, D.D.S. and Helen Lambros, the event recognized Dr. Vamvas as a leader in his profession, and the Greek-American community. This successful event attracted a large number of supporters, enabling the Society to establish the “S. James Vamvas Scholarship Fund”. This fund has allowed the society to provide financial assistance to medical and dental students of Hellenic descent who are from California or attend medical or dental school in California. The fund is the only one of its kind on the west coast, providing financial assistance to gifted young men and women as they pursue the training necessary to embark on challenging and demanding careers in the health sciences. Since 1988 the Society has awarded approximately 160 scholarships totaling over $200,000
In 2016 HAMDS was excited to announce two endowed scholarships. First, in honor of Dr. Demetreos N. Halikis, former HAMDS President. The “Demetreos N. Halikis, M.D. Scholarship” is being funded and endowed through the generosity of Dr. Halikis’s son, Dr. Mark Halikis, his wife Janice, and their family. Second, in honor of Michael N. Halikis, M.D. The “Michael N. Halikis, M.D. Scholarship” is being funded and endowed through the generosity of his loving wife Mrs. Rosalind Halikis, their son Dr. Nick Halikis, and their family.
The main source of funding for the scholarship fund is the annual scholarship dinner, which honors a Hellenic physician, dentist and community activist. In addition to the annual scholarship dinner, the Society holds regular meetings and organizes a spring and a fall dinner lecture series and a summer retreat. Furthermore, since 2000 the Society has joined the Federation of Hellenic Medical Societies of the United States, maintaining contact with other organizations of its kind, such as the Hellenic Medical Society of New York. Attendance at meetings of the Biomedical Hellenic Diaspora of Greece and Cyprus is also encouraged and supported. Additionally, The Society has been an active supporter of the Federation of Hellenic Diaspora (S.A.E.). A successful fundraising event was held with the presence of Charles Karnakis, M.D., the Medical Director of S.A.E. for Russia and Georgia.