Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) recently dedicated an endowed chair that will provide funds to expand Multiple Sclerosis educational programs and clinical research.
LVHN’s newest endowed chair, its 21st, was dedicated May 3 during a ceremony at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest, came from a donation from Arnold and Deanne Kaplan in honor of Dr. Lawrence Levitt.
Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Endowed Chair in Multiple Sclerosis is held by Dr. Dmitry Khaitov, 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, LVHN said.
Khaitov co-directs the LVHN MS Center with Dr. Gary Clauser, where they and their team of devoted clinicians provide care and support to patients with multiple sclerosis from throughout the region and beyond, LVHN said.
“The MS Program at LVHN is recognized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as a Center for Comprehensive MS care,” said Dr. Brian Nester, LVHN president and CEO. “Over the last three years, an average of 1,458 individual patients with MS are seen annually at LVHN Neurology. Every week, approximately 3 to 4 new patients with MS seek care at LVHN either as a new diagnosis or as a transfer from another institution.”
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.
The visionary behind what is now LVH–Cedar Crest, Pool connected the couple to 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.”
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 primary care physicians, 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,” Nester said.