Monday, October 26, 2009

LifeBridge Health Mourns Passing of Dr. Alan Levine

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Alan Levine, the director of the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute at LifeBridge Health.

"Under the guidance of Alan Levine, the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute is a recognized leader in the care and treatment of cancer, not only in Baltimore, but beyond,” Sinai Hospital President Neil Meltzer says. “Alan's vision of a team approach always placed the patient at the center of care. This focus on the patient is what made Alan not only a visionary in the field, but also a man whose devotion to humanity rose above all else."

Dr. Levine, 61, also the head of the Division of Orthopedic Oncology, was renowned in his field. An expert on scoliosis, he was the editor-in-chief of the Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons for eight years, and his published works included “Skeletal Trauma” and “Nonoperative Musculoskeletal Care.” After receiving his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Levine completed a general surgery internship at the University of Colorado Hospital, after which he completed an orthopedic surgery residency at Yale.

Erik Wexler, president of Northwest Hospital, says Dr. Levine was a critical component to the success of the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute.

"I will miss Alan's passionate interest in advancing oncology services at LifeBridge Health," Wexler says. "His impact is far and wide within the Baltimore region. He exemplified the type of leadership we depend on from our physician leaders to enhance services on each of our campuses. There is no doubt that Northwest Hospital's development of cancer infusion services and the breast care center happened due to the vision of this highly dedicated leader. I will miss him very much."

From an early age, Dr. Levine was fascinated by medicine – his father, Dr. Leon Levine, was an orthopedic surgeon and his grandfather was a dentist. He told the AAOS News in 2007, “In general, the sort of things that we do in orthopaedics, and especially in orthopaedic oncology, can make a huge difference in people’s lives. I had a patient recently whom we treated for a spine tumor. His wife said to me, ‘You gave me my husband back.’”

LifeBridge Health radiation oncologist Mark Brenner, M.D., who met Dr. Levine in 1991, says his colleague and friend's death has created a tremendous void.

"I'm going to miss him terribly," Dr. Brenner says. "If someone, anywhere, called me with a soft tissue or spine tumor, it was a no-brainer - you sent them to Alan Levine. He was a giant presence, and the Cancer Institute was really his baby."

In addition to his professional success, Dr. Levine was active in charitable works. In his spare time, he would make teddy bears for his pediatric patients. He was featured in an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Exhibition of Orthopedics in Art, and told AAOS the bears were “a non-threatening way for some of my younger patients to deal with scoliosis. The nature of the interaction of the physicians with the child and parents is paramount.” Dr. Levine also donated his time to braVo!, designing a bra called “Bear Breasted.”

In addition to his father, Dr. Levine is survived by his wife, Barbara Portnoy Levine, and his children: Dana Levine of San Francisco, Calif; Alissa and Greg Wong of New York, N.Y.; and Andrea Levine of Baltimore, Md. He was the brother of Francea McNair, brother-in-law of Tim McNair, and son-in-law of Rae and Murray Portnoy of Connecticut. He was preceded in death by his mother, Felice Levine.

"He was really a family man," Dr. Brenner says. "He was really proud of his kids. He adored them. His life may have been cut short, but he was someone who stopped and smelled the roses."

Services will be tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane. Interment will be at Garrison Forest Cemetery of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Owings Mills. Please omit flowers. The family will be in mourning at 1805 By Woods Lane, Stevenson, MD 21153.

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