Lewis Lefkowitz

LewContributed by Richard Davidson, October 2015.

Lewis Lefkowitz was born in Dallas, Texas in December, 1930. He attended the University of Texas Southwestern medical school, did an internship at Duke University, and finished his internal medicine residency at the VA Hospital in Dallas, serving as chief resident. He received training in epidemiology, public health, and infectious disease at the University of Illinois. He came to Vanderbilt University in 1965, and immediately began a community-based elective for students. Because of his interests, he was invited to a meeting with students in the office of Dr. Amos Christie, who had recently retired as chair of pediatrics. Dr. Lefkowitz, known to everyone as Dr. L, became one of the most important faculty supporters of the Student Health Coalition (SHC). In addition to visiting during health fairs, he took on the task of organizing the Urban Branch of the SHC, which worked in Nashville community centers based in underserved locations, primarily in East Nashville. Students who wanted to work on the Appalachian Project were able to attend his clinics and take elective coursework in these locations and receive training in physical assessment, which helped prepare them for summer projects. He served on the board of the Center for Health Services (CHS), the campus-based umbrella organization for student projects, for 18 years. In 2002, the Center created the Lewis B. Lefkowitz Internship to recognize and continue his commitment of extending medical education beyond the classroom and into the community.  On being honored by the Community Campus Partnerships for Health, he stated:

“There could be no better or more fascinating and productive laboratory for all kinds of scientific and humanitarian endeavors during students’ terms in medical school and residency than the community. This world, outside the walls of the medical school, is full of unexamined problems seeking solutions, infinitely varied and interesting. That is where most of the graduates will spend their post-academic lives and all their patients will experience virtually the entire course of their diseases. This is the reason it has increasingly attracted curriculum committees as they design and rationalize the changes they are proposing for medical education.”


Related Content:

Lewis Lefkowitz on the Student Health Coalition’s key accomplishments

Lewis Lefkowitz recalls what facilitated the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC’s) success. He discusses the organization’s framework of community mobilization and agency, and furthermore highlights the leadership legacy of Kate and J.W. Bradley. Recorded on December 1, 2015.   Full footage… Continued

Lewis Lefkowitz Materials on the Student Health Coalition and the Center for Health Services, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill

In 1965, Dr. Lewis Lefkowitz arrived at Vanderbilt University and began a community-based elective for students. After Dr. Amos Christie invited him to a meeting with students interested in starting the Student Health Coalition (SHC), he became one of its… Continued

Student Health Coalition Project Collection, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill

Link to the Collection Finding Aid in the Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill: https://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/05649/ This collection includes materials documenting the work of the Student Health Coalition, an organization developed at Vanderbilt University in 1969 to reach out to medically underserved… Continued

One of the best days ever

[Story contributed by Rosalie Hammond, December 2015] During the summer of 1971, I spent a good deal of time on health fair follow-up.  We had always been committed to doing more than just identify clinical problems at the health fairs. … Continued

Lewis Lefkowitz recalls the legacy of Marie Cirillo and impact of local nurses

Lewis Lefkowitz highlights Marie Cirillo’s contributions to the work of the Student Health Coalition (SHC) and discusses the role of nursing in promoting public health. Recorded on December 1, 2015.   Full footage of his recollection about the development of… Continued

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *