By R.M. Grossblatt
Lewin comes to Emory after almost 12 years at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, where he served as senior vice president for integrated health care delivery, co-chair for strategic planning, and professor and chairman of the Russell H. Morgan department of radiology and radiological science at Johns Hopkins University. He also served as radiologist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital and professor of oncology, neurosurgery and biomedical engineering.
“I’m thrilled to be joining a fantastic leadership team at Emory and be able to help move the institution forward in health care delivery and health sciences,” Lewin said in an interview. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to make a great institution even better.”
At Emory, Lewin oversees the schools of medicine, nursing and public health. The public health school, one of the top 10 in the country, looks at national, regional and global health issues.
Emory announced Lewin’s appointment Dec. 10 after an extensive national search. In an Emory news release, university President James Wagner welcomed Lewin and recognized his “impressive track record of innovative and high-impact research, exceptional patient care, and visionary administrative acumen.”
Lewin grew up in Cleveland’s large Jewish community.
“Clearly one’s core values are greatly shaped by childhood and one’s religious background,” he said. He’s well aware of the Jewish idea that saving one life is like saving mankind. “The privilege to be able to save one life is a tremendous honor for anyone in the medical field.”
His role model as a child was his father, a general practitioner. The young Lewin watched his father make house calls in the city’s economically disadvantaged areas.
Although aware of his father’s devotion to medicine, Lewin planned to pursue a doctorate in physical chemistry. He changed his mind during the summer before his junior year of college when he worked as a scrub technician in an orthopedic operating room at Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland. A scrub technician hands instruments to the doctor during an operation. By the second operation, Lewin wanted to be a surgeon.
With a degree in chemistry from Brown University in 1981, Lewin entered the Yale School of Medicine, where he learned about interventional radiology. Instead of surgery, this type of radiology uses less invasive procedures such as a needle or catheter to treat patients with cancer and other diseases.
Lewin developed technology in that field in the mid-1990s and earned 25 patents.
“It took about 10 years to catch on,” he said. Today, he’s internationally known for his pioneering work in interventional and intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging.
After receiving his medical degree in 1985, Lewin interned at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He completed a residency in diagnostic radiology at University Hospitals in Cleveland, a magnetic resonance research fellowship in Germany and a neuroradiology fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. He also received training in head and neck radiology at the Pittsburgh Eye and Ear Hospital.
A fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and of the American College of Radiology, Lewin continues to serve as the president of the American Roentgen Ray Society, which is America’s oldest professional radiology organization. He is also the president of the International Society for Strategic Studies in Radiology and president-elect of the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments.
“I seem to attract roles,” he joked.
Lewin met his wife, Linda, in high school. A pediatrician and former associate chairwoman of the pediatrics department at the University of Maryland, she also plans to work at Emory.
The Lewins lived in several states and abroad, but they spent over 18 years in Cleveland, where their children were born.
Daughter Sarah lives in New York and is a science writer on Space.com. “She’s a great writer,” said her father, who himself has written around 200 scientific manuscripts, chapters and other papers in his field.
Son Benjamin is studying computer science in the School of Engineering at Tufts University.
In Baltimore and Cleveland, the Lewins were members of Reform congregations. They plan to learn more about the area after settling into the Druid Hills neighborhood before picking a new congregation.
“Linda and I are excited to join the Atlanta community,” Lewin said.