DR. EMMANUEL VOULGAROPOULOS
Doctor helped set up public health services in Asia
Dr. Emmanuel Voulgaropoulos worked for more than 40 years to develop public health programs and schools in Asian countries and train people to bring health services to communities there.
"Credit for a lot of what happened in public health in Asia goes to Manny," said Jerome Grossman, a former colleague at the University of Hawaii School of Public Health. "We worked for 30 years developing the international emphasis of our school." The school "had a big part in many of the health developments in Asia. We helped to establish public health services in many countries. We trained and brought Asians here to prepare to go back and work in Asia."
Voulgaropoulos died March 10 at 74.
Before coming to Hawaii to help establish the public health school, the young doctor and his wife worked for more than five years in Cambodia and Vietnam with the Medical Eye and Dental International Care Organization and the U.S. Agency for International Development medical programs before the Vietnam War.
After retirement from the university in 1984, Voulgaropoulos became director of the USAID Office of Health in Indonesia, where he helped establish five schools of public health. He also worked in the Philippines, where he participated in development of the national health insurance program.
"We were technical support for the Peace Corps," said Grossman. "He let me come along" to Micronesia, where they set up sanitation systems, and in Indonesia and Thailand, where they trained people to provide health service in villages. "He was a serious, hard-working person dedicated to the community-based, people-oriented public health standard."
Voulgaropoulos was born in Lowell, Mass. He studied for his medical degree at Tufts University and the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. He later earned a master's degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University. During his career he became fluent in six languages besides English and his parents' native Greek.
Since his retirement in 1995, he devoted time to his artwork as a potter and sculptor. His work was shown in several exhibitions, and he was invited to study with masters in Japan and Korea, according to his family.
He is survived by wife Rose, son Dimitri, daughter Andrea, sisters Helen Sakellaris and Anna Kakatsakis, and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Diamond Head Mortuary. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.