The death of a loved one convinced Constantine George, then a student at Bonanza High School, to become a physician.
“From a very young age I always had it in me to help and assist others,” said George, ’97 BS Biology, who earned his medical degree from the UNR School of Medicine in 2001. “My paternal grandmother died. At that point it solidified my decision to become a physician. She was living in a Greek village and had limited access to physicians and health care.”
The more George talks, the more you come to understand how his Greek and Las Vegas backgrounds have helped shape his life.
“My parents immigrated to the USA from Greece, and myself and my four siblings are first generation here.” With immigrant parents who were not able to go to college, education was greatly prized, he said, adding that his parents stressed the opportunities that a college diploma would afford. Studying late into the night became his normal — as did all A’s. He left Bonanza as its valedictorian.
As he grew up, spending the school year in Las Vegas and summers in Greece with his beloved grandmother and other relatives, George came to realize that the economic wellbeing of Las Vegas depended on the hospitality shown to visitors.
His father was a maître d’ at the Circus Maximus Showroom inside the Caesars Palace complex, a venue which, until it closed in 2000, was considered one of the great American theater spaces.
George, whose father got him in to see many headliners and Broadway shows, saw how well his father treated guests. His mother, who worked in room service for MGM, also believed that good customer service would prompt guests to return and to encourage friends to visit.
As he went to medical school and through post-graduate training in Arizona — he is board-certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics — he began to think more about how he could incorporate hospitality into health care, believing that one day Las Vegas could grow into an international medical tourism destination.
“You have to remember that in medicine you are in the service industry,” George said. “In Las Vegas, hospitality is at the forefront of every major business and is the leading competitive factor to success. Every major hotel/casino extensively trains staff, no matter their position, on the attitude and language required to acknowledge guests and create a welcoming atmosphere to set their brand apart from the rest."
When he returned to Las Vegas from Arizona, he made sure to incorporate the idea of hospitality into his private practice. That philosophy is on display today since his founding in 2017 of EPITOMEDICAL, a medical practice combining both internal medicine and pediatrics, offering concierge medicine 24/7 to family members of all ages. In addition, George developed an app, powered by EPITOMEDICAL, called Vedius, which provides patients direct access to the finest medical care from their smartphone. Vedius patients can be seen the same-day and be treated by a physician in their hotel room, taking the guesswork out of finding quality healthcare for those traveling.
“Why not extend this idea of customer service and hospitality to health care?” he asked. Patients want to feel welcomed and appreciated, especially while seeking medical care. Understanding that patients are truly guests of the health care system is the first critical step of incorporating hospitality into health care and helping Las Vegas grow as an international medical tourism destination.”
During his career, George has developed five core values he believes physicians would be wise to include in their practice of medicine. In addition to hospitality, they are:
- Humility — “Being a doctor takes hard work but it is also a unique privilege and you need to remember that.”
- Respect — “Your medical care should always look to the individual patient regardless of demographics. Medical conditions don’t discriminate, nor should you as a health care provider.”
- Integrity — “Be upfront with your patient, follow up with them and keep them updated constantly. Also maintain confidentiality at all times.”
- Accountability — “As a physician you must be reliable and answer to those who trust us, including our patients, colleagues, and our community in general.”
His ideas and opinions have resonated across the country and overseas. Last year Reader’s Digest editors sought his insight on questionable health trends and both Reader’s Digest and MSN.com shared with international audiences his advice on aging.
George wants to see the UNLV School of Medicine grow into an academic medical center that improves the health of Las Vegas for generations to come. When he shared his ideas about medicine with the school’s founding dean, Dr. Barbara Atkinson, she saw how valuable he would be on the school’s Community Engagement Board, where he is now an important contributor. When he offered to donate stethoscopes to incoming medical students and share his ideas with students during a ceremony where they would receive the long-recognized symbol of the medical profession, Atkinson was happy to have him do so.
“I want to do all I can,” said George, “to bring the best medical care to Las Vegas.”