The Hellenic American Medical and Dental Society of California (HAMDS) will continue its annual tradition of awarding scholarships to students of Greek and Cypriot heritage at its annual dinner. The ceremony will be held at the Redondo Beach Marriott Torrance on Saturday, November 10, 2018.
At this year’s ceremony, Dr. Chris Thanos, DDS will be honored with a lifetime achievement award. Dr. Thanos, currently a pediatric dentist in Torrance and Moreno Valley, will be recognized for his passion for helping the underprivileged and those with special needs.
In 1964, an American Field Service Scholarship helped Dr. Thanos come to the United States and complete his senior year of high school in Grand Prairie, Texas. He returned to Greece after graduating, but later returned again to the U.S. as a recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, attending Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
In 1971 he received his DDS from the University of Athens, Greece, and then completed his first pediatric dentistry residency at the University of London’s Eastman Dental Hospital. Having had his fill of British weather and food, Dr. Thanos’ California dreaming brought him to the United States again in 1973, except that this time he chose the west coast. He continued his postgraduate studies at the UCLA School of Dentistry in Dental Biomaterial Research. He was then awarded a NIH funded fellowship in Craniofacial Genetics and completed his second pediatric residency at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Dr. Thanos always enjoyed academia. Having begun his academic career as a lecturer at UCLA’s School of Dentistry, in 1977 he was lured across town and joined the full-time faculty of the then-USC School of Dentistry. In 1979, he assumed the role of chairman of the university’s Advanced Pediatric Dentistry department. He also served as attending staff at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital. In the mid-1980’s he assumed the role of chairman of the admissions committee at USC’s School of Dentistry and was a member of the dental school’s research committee. He originated the first bonding clinic at USC in the 1980s, focusing on porcelain veneers and direct composites.
During this academic period, he published peer reviewed articles in many professional journals on dental materials, orthodontics, and adhesive dentistry. He has lectured in the United States and in Central America, and has organized an international symposium in Greece.
As an international student himself, Dr. Thanos was always available and committed to help guide and mentor students and dentists from Greece, along with Greek-American students, to advance their careers and education.
The annual event organized by the HAMDS is a fundraiser with a goal to continue the worthy cause of supporting the students and their dreams.
The dinner will also feature live music from Peter Deneff, Greek-American soprano Maria Patzakis, and Nia Matty. It is expected to draw over 100 attendees.
For those interested in attending or sponsoring the non-profit organization and its mission, more details can be found on the HAMDS website. For supporters that will not be able to attend the Scholarship Dinner, the organization has also established a GoFund me page.