Dermatologist's legacy: The gift of learning

December 1, 2006

At 90, Norman Levan, M.D., still practices dermatology once a week. And he still has a passion for education - which led the self-made millionaire to donate $5.7 million to a local community college for the creation of a center for the humanities and medicine as well as a lifelong learning program for seniors.

The emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, says his practice is now largely limited to people of his generation, whom he has treated for decades, and to referred patients with rare conditions, including a recent case of glucagonoma.

"It is a great pleasure to see those patients," Dr. Levan says.

Patient advocate

The first chairman of dermatology at USC, from 1961 to 1981, Dr. Levan was unafraid to take stands for patients' sakes.

He started a leprosy program, which cared for some 400 patients, and he insisted that patients with leprosy who had to be hospitalized should be on a regular ward.