Dr. Robert Ira Lewy
Born in Brooklyn in 1943, Dr. Lewy distinguished himself as a student, graduating magna cum laude from Franklin and Marshall College. He was awarded the Roberts Prize in Biology, elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to bring Dr. Martin Luther King to campus. Subsequently he pursued an interest in Buddhism as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Princeton. In 1971 he received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine with honors in Obstetrics and Psychiatry. He attended the doctorate program in Religion at Princeton. Also, in 1971 he was a student of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi of the Tassajara Zen Mountain and Zen Center of San Francisco. His interest in multiple myeloma led him to a Clinical and Research Fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University. He was also awarded a prestigious research grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Dr. Lewy’s research on the hematological effects of aspirin resulted in numerous scientific publications and helped revolutionize the cardiological use of anti-platelet therapy. His studies continued in the pioneering work of John Vane, who received the 1982 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of the link between aspirin and prostaglandins. He has also published drug treatment of high-grade brain cancers.
A long-time member of the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine and of the University of Texas Health Science Center, both in Houston, DR. Lewy received certifications in in Internal Medicine and Hematology. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American College of Rheumatology. During the early years of the AIDS epidemic (1979-1985) he helped pioneer treatment for the gay community in Houston and founded the first AIDS-only treatment unit.
In the 1990’s he conducted path-breaking research on the health aspects of silicone breast implants, leading to a ban for all uses for 14 years by the United States Food and Drug Administration. On November 9, 2015, Brown University School of Public Health concluded that silicone gel breast implants required further study to be proven safe.
Dr. Lewy, who also completed legal studies at South Texas College of Law, has been named a distinguished alumnus of Stuyvesant High School, where he endowed The Dr. Robert Lewy Multimedia Center. He is the nephew of Emmanuel Levinas one of the 20th century’s most important philosophers, author of L’Etre et Le Neant. A chance discovery online unearthed a photo of his great uncle, the illustrious 19th century French Existentialist and Jewish scholar, Rabbi Israel Lewy. Dr. Lewy, now a proud grandfather of two, Ziva and Boaz Cohen-Lewy, has erected a lasting memorial to his forebears. With The Dr. Robert Ira Lewy Distinguished Lecture Series in Jewish history and Culture, New York University has recognized his philanthropy naming him to its prestigious Society of the Torch. Examples of Dr. Lewy’s continued philanthropy are his recent gifts to the Galaxy Society of the Manhattan School of Music, the Enso Legacy of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, and a large bequest to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Legacy Society.