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Dr. Levine’s “Scoli-Bear”


Published 10/1/2011
Edward Akelman, MD

AAOS creates a legacy to honor an educator

Alan M. Levine, MD, Education Fund supports resident education

My predecessor as chair of the AAOS Council on Education was Alan M. Levine, MD, a friend and colleague, director of the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute for Sinai Hospital and Northwest Hospital Center, and an internationally known orthopaedic oncologist. Dr. Levine died suddenly in 2009 at the age of 61. His passing was a significant loss, not only for his family and friends, but also for orthopaedic education, research, and future orthopaedic surgeons. He was a consummate surgeon, teacher, and editor. (See “Educator, editor: Alan M. Levine, MD,” December 2009 AAOS Now.)

Among his many achievements were the following: chair of the Council on Education, chair of the Publications Committee, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the AAOS (JAAOS), president of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, member of the board of directors of the Cervical Spine Research Society, and member of both the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society and the Scoliosis Research Society, where he served on the Education and Instrumentation Committees. In addition, Dr. Levine designed and made teddy bears, including a Scoli-Bear that he used to help explain scoliosis surgery to children.

Alan M. Levine, MD

Shortly after Dr. Levine’s death, in December 2009, the AAOS Board of Directors donated $10,000 in his honor and established the Alan M. Levine, MD, Scholarship Fund, dedicated primarily to resident orthopaedic education. This fund awards two resident scholarships annually to attend the Course for Orthopaedic Educators, but scholarships will cease unless other donations can create a sustainable fund capable of supporting them in the future.

A perpetual legacy
To honor Dr. Levine’s legacy in perpetuity, the Academy is now establishing the Alan M. Levine, MD, Education Fund. The goal is to raise $150,000 by the end of this year (2011) to provide several residents with the opportunity to attend the AAOS Course for Orthopaedic Educators and other continuing medical education and surgical skills courses in the Orthopaedic Learning Center. Each year, 5 percent of the fund will be spent for resident scholarships, giving residents the opportunity to benefit from perspectives not available to them at their home institutions.

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Dr. Levine’s “Scoli-Bear”
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Mark Wieting, AAOS chief education officer, recalls what an amazing individual Dr. Levine was. “His analytical mind was astounding, grasping things immediately and deciphering what was important and what wasn’t. His amazing intellect led him to look at issues from many angles. He cared deeply about orthopaedic education, residents, and improving patient care.”

Why the focus on residents? According to current JAAOS Editor Jeffrey Fischgrund, MD, Dr. Levine was a role model for residents. “I was fortunate to complete residency at the University of Maryland, while Dr. Levine was on staff,” said Dr. Fischgrund. “Although he set demanding standards for residents, he set even higher standards for himself. Living up to his expectations enabled those who worked with him to surpass their own personal limitations. He was always there to lead by example and to help guide orthopaedic careers without expecting anything in return—a rare example of true mentoring.”

All orthopaedic residency program directors will receive notification of available scholarships, along with selection criteria and a list of the required documents for submission. The CME Courses Committee will select the scholarship recipients, who will be known as “Levine Scholars.”

Sources of support
Support for this fund is coming from numerous sources. The co-editors of a book Dr. Levine was working on at the time of his death have generously agreed to donate their royalties to this fund when the book is published later this year.

“Orthopaedic education was Alan’s passion,” said Albert J. Aboulafia, MD, one of Dr. Levine’s colleagues in Baltimore and a leader of the fundraising effort. “When I heard that AAOS was working to establish a sustainable education fund in Alan’s name that would go on in perpetuity, I eagerly volunteered to help with the project. I can think of no better recognition and remembrance of him than establishing an ongoing resident scholarship fund through AAOS.”

A tax-deductible donation to the Alan M. Levine, MD, Education Fund can be made either online or by check to the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF). Online donations can be made through the OREF website. Simply click on the “Donate Now” roll-down box, then “AAOS Special Appeals,” and “Learn more about the AAOS Alan M. Levine, MD, Education Fund.” Or mail your donation check, payable to the OREF, to OREF, 6300 N. River Road, Ste. 700, Rosemont, IL 60018.

Edward Akelman, MD, chairs the AAOS Council on Education.