(Left to Right) Dr. Michael J. Patzakis, Susan G. Patzakis, First Lady of USC, Niki Nikias, and C.L. "Max" Nikias, USC President.
Dr. Michael John Patzakis, a member of Leadership 100 with his wife, Susan, was honored for his 21 years of service upon his retirement as Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, on May 19, 2012 at the Langham Huntington Hotel’s ballroom in Pasadena, California. More than 470 distinguished guests from the USA and abroad, many former Orthopaedic residents and friends, attended the tribute dinner. Dr. Patzakis has been a member of the Orthopaedic department for 43 years.
Speakers included Max C.L. Nikias, President of the University of Southern California; Carmen Puliafito, M.D., Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC; Metropolitan Nikitas, Director of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, California, The Very Reverend Father John Bakas, Dean of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles, and Dr. Konstantine Malizos, Professor and Chairman, Orthopaedic Department and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessalia, Larissa, Greece. Dr. Patzakis’ children, Michele, Theresa, John and Peter, also spoke, and a video presentation was shown depicting his early life and culmination as Chairman of the Department. All speakers attested to Dr. Patzakis’ legendary and visionary leadership in Orthopaedic Surgery, as well as to his personal integrity and honesty.
A surprise tribute was a Battle Ensign that had flown over NATO Role 3 medical treatment facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan, which was personally escorted to Pasadena. The encased flag was given to Dr. Patzakis in recognition of his support of the U.S. Navy, mentorship and friendship shown to the crew of the Navy Trauma Center at the Los Angeles County+University of Southern California Medical Center.
Dr. Patzakis received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from Ohio State University. After completing his internship and Orthopaedic residency at the Los Angeles County, USC Medical Center, he completed a fellowship in arthritis surgery at the University of Colorado and then joined the USC faculty. In 1991, he became Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, the largest Orthopaedic Department in the United States at that time.
During his tenure, he established a research presence for the department on the Health Sciences Campus. In 2010, the USC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine ranked 19th in NIH grants for all Orthopaedic Departments in the country. Dr. Patzakis has been a principal investigator on 65 research studies made possible by more than 40 grants and gifts from private industry, foundations, and grateful patients. He has authored more than 160 scientific papers, abstracts and book chapters, and has lectured throughout the United States and the world. He has been active in community affairs and has served on the Los Angeles Concert Opera Board. He is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.