Scope and Content Note
Spyros Andreopoulos recalls his career at the Medical School and the various deans he worked with, including Bob Alway, Bob
Glaser and David Korn. He also discusses covering the news of Arthur Kornberg’s synthesis of biologically active DNA and Norman
Shumway’s work in heart transplant. As a former consultant to the board of the Packard Foundation, Andreopoulos talks about
his relationship with David Packard.
A native of Greece, born in Athens on Feb. 12, 1929, Spyros Andreopoulos learned English in German-occupied Salonica as a
teen, served as a communications liaison in Greece’s air force during the Korean War, and studied journalism in the United
States, where he married and remained, working in public relations and journalism, earning recognition among reporters and
public-relations specialists as an unusually well-informed, honest and sometimes bold broker of medical news. In the spring
of 1939, Andreopoulos was accepted by the Koryalenion School at the island Spetsai, an exclusive private school regarded as
the Greek version of Eton. But by then war in Europe was looming and his father decided that it would be best if he attended
Anatolia College instead, an American high school near Salonica — so that if hostilities broke out, he would be near home.
War came to Greece in 1940 when Italy invaded from Albania and was defeated. Hitler came to Mussolini’s aid and the German
army invaded Greece in the spring of 1941. The American high school was closed down, and its campus and buildings were taken
over by the German occupation authorities. The American teaching staff left for the states, but the Greek teachers who remained
behind rented a building in Salonica and continued to give English lessons. Andreopoulos enrolled at the new school and took
English lessons during the entire German occupation. After the British liberated Greece in 1944, Andreopoulos’ first summer
job was a clerical position with the electrical parts division of the British army’s supply corps. He finished high school
in 1946, then studied at the University of Athens in 1948-49. He found being drafted by the air force for a 24-month military
service was a blessing in disguise. Andreopoulos got his first experiences as a diplomat as the designated spokesman for a
squadron of seven Douglas C-47 transport planes (known as gooney birds) contributed by Greece to the U.S. effort in Korea.
The Korean War also provided Andreopoulos his first journalism experiences. While serving, he recorded interviews with the
troops for Radio Athens and played the role of reporter for the first time. Though he was trained in flight control, his knowledge
of English led to his first job in communications. After the war, Andreopoulos returned to Greece and worked for the United
States Information Agency, helping produce a series of films on the accomplishments of the Marshall Plan in Greece. In 1953,
his boss sent him to the University of Kansas in Manhattan to prep for a series of films teaching Greek farmers to use modern
agricultural methods. The next year the film series was canned, but Andreopoulos was able to stay in the United States.
With the help of the Institute of International Education, he applied for scholarships to the schools of journalism at Northwestern,
University of Missouri, University of Kansas and Wichita University, now Wichita State University. He was offered scholarships
by all, but Wichita gave him a deal he couldn’t refuse — a $2,000 scholarship, plus free room and board. In 1955, while still
a student in Wichita, he joined the Wichita Beacon newspaper as a reporter covering the education and science beats and two
years later he became assistant editorial page editor.
In 1959, the famous psychiatrist Karl Menninger asked Andreopoulos to join the The Menninger Foundation as assistant director
of information services and editor of The Menninger Quarterly. In 1963, Andreopoulos was lured away from his work at the renowned
psychiatric clinic and school in Topeka, Kan., by an offer from Stanford.
Once at Stanford, Andreopoulos found himself with plenty of administrative matters to write about — and plenty of news to
get out. He wrote about tensions between the medical center and the city of Palo Alto, the creation of a virus in a test-tube,
the first heart transplant in the United States and the Asilomar Conference on the safety of research using bioengineered
Though he was not a member of Stanford’s faculty, Andreopoulos commanded the respect and attention of leaders in medicine
at Stanford and beyond. Andreopoulos not only served as spokesman for the medical school, advisor to the school’s leaders
and director of the news office, he was a prolific and insightful writer himself. Among the issues Andreopoulos took up over
the years: the dangers of conflicts of interest in medical research, the strengths of single-payer health coverage and methods
for avoiding hype in reporting biomedical research.
As director of Stanford’s medical news office, Andreopoulos served as the school’s official spokesman and also as editor of
Stanford M.D. magazine and its successor, Stanford Medicine, which he founded. He became director emeritus in 1993.
In addition to his work for Stanford, Andreopoulos is a prolific writer. Over his career he edited and contributed to a book
series on socioeconomic aspects of health care; published on medicine and social policy in professional journals and the lay
press — including dozens of op-eds for the San Francisco Chronicle — and co-authored a medical novel (Heart Beat, Putnam-Coward,
Other noteworthy Andreopoulos writings include Aging of America & the Role of the Academic Health Center (John Wiley & Sons,
September 1988) and The Unhealthy Alliance Between Academia and Corporate America (West J Med, October 2001) concerning the
distorting influences of the commercialization of academic science on university research. He also edited and contributed
to a book series on socioeconomic aspects of health care: Medical Cure and Medical Care (Milbank Memorial Fund, 1972); Primary
Care: Where Medicine Fails (John Wiley & Sons, 1974); National Health Insurance: Can We Learn from Canada? (Krieger, 1975);
and with John Hogness, MD, Health Care for an Aging Society (Churchill Livingstone, 1990).
As a member of the board and editor of the Sun Valley Forum on National Health, a think tank co-founded in 1972 by the late
Averill Harriman and based in Sun Valley, Idaho, Andreopoulos authored and published policy papers on a range of topics. Since
1995 he has also contributed more than 60 commentaries to the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury-News and other newspapers.
The topics have ranged from medical education and research to drug company advertising, health-care policy issues and the
Andreopoulos’ books have received several honors. His Primary Care: Where Medicine Fails received the Best Book Award from
the American Medical Writers Association in 1975, and National Health Insurance: Can We Learn from Canada? was named Book
of the Year by the American Nurses Association in 1976.
He received several consecutive exceptional achievement awards from the Association of American Medical Colleges for “excellence
in medical education public affairs.” On the year of his retirement, the magazine also received the Sibley Award for excellence,
the highest honor accorded to university alumni magazines.
Andreopoulos has served on the boards of the California Division of the American Cancer Society and the National Association
of Science Writers. He is a member of American Medical Writers Association. He has served as a consultant on public relations
and communication to the National Cancer Institute and several academic medical centers, and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation,
the Markey Charitable Trust, and the Lucile and David Packard Foundation. In the early 1970s he advised PBS and the National
Science Foundation during the initial planning and launching of the NOVA television series. Andreopoulos lives on the Stanford
campus with his wife, Christiane, who for many years taught French at Castilleja School, an all-girls middle and high school
in Palo Alto, Calif., and is now retired.
*This biography is adapted from a manuscript provided by the School of Medicine.
Alway, Robert Andreopoulos, Christiane Andreopoulos, Spyros Barnard, Christian Berg, Paul Beyers, Bob Carlson, Frank Faculty
Relationship to the Press Fogarty, Thomas J. Glaser, Robert J. Kasperak, Michael Korn, David Kornberg, Arthur Kornberg, Arthur
-- Synthesis of Biologically Active DNA Menninger Foundation Menninger, Karl A. Menninger, William Nelson, Lyle M. Nobel Prize
Packard Foundation Packard, David Reagan, Ronald Rich, Clayton Shumway, N.E. (Norman Edward) Shumway, N.E. (Norman Edward)
-- Tetralogy of Fallot Shumway, N.E. (Norman Edward) -- Tetralogy of Fallot -- Heart Transplants Spector, Rosanne Stanford
University -- Medical Center Stanford University -- Medical Center -- Communications and Public Relations Stanford University
-- Medical Center -- Internal and External Interactions Stanford University -- Medical Center -- Relationship with El Camino
Hospital Stanford University -- Medical Center -- Relationship with UCSF Stinson, Edward United States of America -- Immigration
and Naturalization Service United States of America -- US Embassy in Greece