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Lehigh Valley Health Network dedicates Multiple Sclerosis endowed chair

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) dedicated its newest endowed chair, in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) during a ceremony May 3 at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH) - Cedar Crest.

Arnold and Deanne Kaplan supported the creation of the Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Endowed Chair in Multiple Sclerosis in honor of Lawrence P. Levitt, MD.

The holder of the newest endowed chair is Dmitry Khaitov, MD, LVHN Neurology, for his commitment to patients faced with MS.

The endowed chair will provide funds to expand MS educational programs, health and wellness programs for MS patients and expand clinical research for the Multiple Sclerosis Program at Lehigh Valley Fleming Neuroscience Institute.

The latest endowed chair is LVHN’s 21st.

Dr. Khaitov co-directs the LVHN MS Center with Gary Clauser, MD, where they and their team of clinicians provide cutting-edge care and support to patients with multiple sclerosis from throughout the region and beyond.

“The MS Program at LVHN is recognized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as a Center for Comprehensive MS care,” said Brian A. Nester, DO, LVHN President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

“Over the last three years, an average of 1,458 individual patients with MS are seen annually at LVHN Neurology. Every week, approximately three to four new patients with MS seek care at LVHN either as a new diagnosis or as a transfer from another institution,” said Nester.

Arnold Kaplan, a former member of LVHN’s Board of Trustees, spoke at the dedication ceremony about how his wife, Deanne, has multiple sclerosis and by 1972 needed a wheelchair to get around. At that time, Kaplan worked at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. and had been hired by its founder, Leonard Parker Pool.

Pool, the visionary behind what is now LVH - Cedar Crest, connected the couple to Dr. Levitt, a neurologist, at LVHN, who would “do whatever it took to help Deanne,” said Kaplan.

“Little did we know then the impact Dr. Levitt and Lehigh Valley Health Network would have on our family,” Kaplan said. “It is a great honor to present this endowed chair today and to complete the circle that began 50 years ago.”

Dr. Levitt points to his relationship with the Kaplans, and their gift to recognize him, as a clear highlight in his career.

Dr. Nester said endowed chairs are critical to the mission of LVHN, helping to recruit and retain the best national talent. He said it has become increasingly difficult in the post-COVID world to recruit physicians: primary care, specialists and surgeons.

“The endowed chair holders are among the health network’s best physicians who are engaged and focused on patient care, education, and research and lead the way in health care not only here at home but nationally,” Dr. Nester said.

The latest endowed chair is LVHN’s 21st.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY LVHN Lehigh Valley Health Network's 21st endowed chair was dedicated May 3. Attending the ceremony for the announcement of the Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Endowed Chair in Multiple Sclerosis in honor of Lawrence P. Levitt, MD were, from left, front: Arnold Kaplan, Deanne Kaplan, Howard Weiner, MD, and Lawrence P. Levitt, MD, and, back:Dmitry Khaitov, MD, Maris Ryba (the Kaplans' granddaughter), Pamela Ryba (the Kaplans' daughter) and Steven Lewis, MD.