Paul Levy: A Man so Great We Named Our Newsletter After Him

Nov. 16, 2021
Paul Levy and his wife, Robin
Levy and wife, Robin

From his start as a research technician in Ohio, to his decade-long tenure as chair of the department of Medicine, Paul Levy, M.D. has achieved great things. Beyond being a physician, he is a scientist and educator, and led the DOM through the monumental transition into electronic medical records and regional programs development. Through these past four decades as a man dedicated to science, he has been loyal to the loves of his life: his wife Robin, their four children, and his beloved THE Ohio State University Buckeyes.

Ohio State Roots

Levy started his medical education and career in Columbus, Ohio. He was the first in his family to go into the medical field. During his junior year of undergrad at Ohio State, he secured a job in a HemOnc lab where he was taken under the wing of Albert LoBuglio, M.D. It was under LoBuglio’s mentorship that Levy’s love of science and enjoyment of working in a lab really blossomed. He earned his M.D. in 1982 from Ohio State University College of Medicine. Since moving to Rochester, his passion for the OSU Buckeyes moved here with him, quite literally. He brought several buckeye tree saplings with him from Ohio which have prospered and are now over 25 feet tall.  

Being Drawn to Rochester

After medical school, Levy sought a place of excellence for training and education for his residency. When he learned about the University of Rochester, he met with William Morgan, M.D., then residency program director in the department of Medicine. Levy said that “Morgan created an environment where education was the centerpiece of the residency program.” That environment led Levy to pursue his residency in Internal Medicine at URMC, followed by his fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases & Critical Care.

Paul Levy and family
Levy and family

Moving to Rochester with him was his wife, Robin. They were high school classmates in Columbus and started dating while Levy was in medical school. The two were married in Ohio only a month before his residency began. Robin has been a constant pillar of support and love for the Levy family over their 40 years in Rochester. They have four children; one is a teacher in the Buffalo area providing interventions for children with special educational needs, while the other three followed Levy’s footsteps into medicine.  

The Man Behind the Doctor

Levy is more than a doctor and OSU fan. Above all else, he is a family man. Once he and Robin were established in Rochester, they bought a cottage in the Finger Lakes and have spent many summers on the waters of Keuka Lake. Back in the ‘80s, a friend introduced Levy to the art of breadmaking, a tradition he passed on to his children. This became a great way to pass the time when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and people spent more time at home during quarantine.

Food plays a big role in the Levy household. Levy says, “I eat just about anything!” Keuka Lake feasts are great fun when family from Ohio visit and usually means firing up the smoker to prepare smoked salmon, ribs, and/or beef brisket. He also loves to eat cuisine from Southeast Asia and enjoys spicy food.  

Chair of the Department of Medicine

After his residency and fellowship, Levy joined URMC as a faculty member in 1989. His early career included collaborative research with Mark Utell, M.D. and John Looney, M.D., studying Fc-receptor subtypes on monocytes and alveolar macrophages and he also served as the clinical director of the Pulmonary Division. In the mid- ‘90s, Raphael Dolin, M.D., who was then chair of the department of Medicine, asked Levy to take on new duties for the department. After nearly 15 years in various leadership positions assisting former chairs Dolin, Brad Berk M.D., Ph.D. and Mark Taubman, M.D., Levy was named interim chair of Medicine in 2009, and one year later became chair. The department went through great transformation under his care, in both size and broad regional expansion. Levy’s particularly proud of creating an endowment to support the Department’s academic missions through an annual pilot grant program. He also remains grateful to the many mentors he has had along the way and the opportunities he experienced at URMC. You can learn more about his time as chair in this announcement (connection to UR VPN required). 

Earlier this year, he handed the reins of chair over to Ruth O’Regan, M.D., who came to us from Wisconsin. His professional relationship with O’Regan has been a peaceful transition despite leaving behind a desk drawer full of buckeyes as a present for O’Regan for her first day in the office. The Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers have yet to meet on the field this season. Will the alliance between Levy and O’Regan remain on friendly terms? We’ll see as the teams could potentially meet in the Big Ten Conference Championship!