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In Memoriam: Hermes Kontos, M.D.

Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health lost an academic pioneer when Hermes Kontos, M.D., former dean of the VCU School of Medicine and former CEO of the VCU Health System Authority, passed away on Dec. 5, 2021, at the age of 87 years.


Hermes Kontos, M.D.

Dr. Kontos played an integral role in strategically aligning the academic and clinical vision of the academic health system over his four decades in leadership roles. He began his career at VCU in 1960 as a junior assistant resident in internal medicine, and after completing his fellowship in cardiology, he earned his Ph.D. in physiology in 1967. He quickly rose through the academic ranks at VCU, was promoted to full professor in 1972, and went on to serve as chair of the cardiology division and acting chair of the departments of pathology and internal medicine. He later became dean of the VCU School of Medicine.


Dr. Kontos was appointed the first CEO of the VCU Health System (VCUHS) Authority, which combined MCV Hospitals and MCV Physicians under a single governance structure. At the time of VCU Health’s creation, Dr. Kontos was serving as vice president of VCU Health Sciences. With the authority’s creation, both roles were combined into a single position, ensuring that the academic mission of VCU’s health sciences schools would be aligned with the clinical mission of the health system. Having shepherded the medical center through this historic process, Dr. Kontos stepped aside in 2002, and retired the following year.


Greg Hundley, M.D., director of VCU Health Pauley Heart Center and chair of cardiology, remembers Dr. Kontos from his years as a student in VCU School of Medicine. “Dr. Kontos was a gifted mentor and instilled a lifelong passion for research to hundreds of undergrads, medical and doctoral students, cardiology and neurosurgery fellows, as well as his colleagues,” he said. “His contribution to cerebrovascular physiology continues to make a significant impact to our patients.”


Dr. Kontos earned his medical degree from the School of Medicine of the University of Athens and his doctorate degree from MCV’s Department of Physiology. The Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building at 1217 E. Marshall St. is named in his honor.

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