George C. Tsokos, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, both in Boston, doesn’t recall the moment he first became infatuated with Little, a 12-year-old Siamese cat.
Dr. Tsokos doesn’t even own Little. Not that anyone can truly own any living creature. The cat belongs to his son, Christos Tsokos, MD, PhD, a pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and daughter-in-law, Emma Lubin, PhD, a computer scientist. Since the couple travels several times each year, Dr. Tsokos cat sits Little in his own home. More than likely, Little perceives the experience as a visit to an upscale resort: She is routinely petted, pampered and, yes, even placated at times, and often feasts on fresh cod or salmon that Dr. Tsokos buys for her at the local grocery store.
What’s more, Dr. Tsokos sketches Little. A self-taught artist, he says sketching is his remedy for boredom. Although he has never sketched his children or grandchildren, he has created more than 100 sketches of Little, some of which are based on his still photos of her.
“I’ve been sketching her for more than 10 years,” he says, noting it relaxes him. “Little has a special personality and is a very proud cat. I simply enjoy her presence.”
Education & Acknowledgments
In 1975, Dr. Tsokos earned his medical degree from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UOA), Greece. He first trained in internal medicine at UOA and completed his training in 1982 at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C. and the Washington DC VA Medical Center. Three years later, he completed fellowships in immunology and rheumatology at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. Between 1987 and 2007, he served as chair of rheumatology, vice chair of research and director of the medical research department at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Md.
In recent years, Dr. Tsokos has received many honors, including recognition with the ACR’s 2014 Distinguished Basic Investigator Award, the 2014 Evelyn V. Hess Award from the Lupus Foundation of America, the 2012 Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research from the Arthritis Foundation and the 2016 Carol Nachman Prize in Rheumatology.
He joined the ACR board of directors in 2017 and chaired or served on numerous ACR committees, including the nominations, journal publications, research, annual meeting and abstract selection committees.
He holds honorary degrees from four universities, including Harvard University.