Lewin named new Executive VP for Health Affairs
Jon Lewin’s father was a general practitioner who often spent evenings delivering babies or making house calls for sick patients. “I thought everyone’s father gave them their shots,” says Lewin, who liked computers, technology, and science.
He worked as a scrub tech during college, built a CO2 laser for the Diebold lab at Brown University as an undergraduate, and began thinking about how medicine and technology were going to become ever more intertwined. “I am always attracted to the innovative edge, to whatever people at the time think is impossible,” he says.
At Yale School of Medicine, Lewin focused on radiology and imaging. “When I left, they didn’t even have an MRI at Yale. At Case Western, there were two, and it was fun stuff—physics, technology, and engineering.” He took a fellowship in magnetic resonance research in West Germany in 1989, where he helped take a chunk out of the Berlin wall. Following his passions of radiology and advanced imaging technologies, he went on to Case Western and then Johns Hopkins, redesigning MRI technologies along the way and collecting 25-plus patents. He also gained experience in administration, strategic planning, and health care integration. “We dealt with many of the same issues we’re dealing with here at Emory,” he says.
Now a few months into his role as a leader of both the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and Emory Healthcare, Lewin is excited about the possibilities. “This is an unbelievable organization in a lot of ways,” he says, “As I’ve walked around, listening and observing, I have been continually reminded of the remarkable number of talented and dedicated individuals that make up the Emory health sciences community.”
Transparency, integrity, and authenticity are core cultural values to him, he says, and patient welfare “should always come first. All patients and their families should be treated like VIPs.”
Lewin has adopted a new personal communications strategy: Tweeting. “With around 24,000 individuals contributing to our clinical, educational, discovery, and community service missions,” he says, “it’s a daunting task to ensure that people get to know me, my aspirations for the institution, and my appreciation for all the great work being done here. Twitter is a wonderful mechanism for getting the word out.”
He enjoys playing the saxophone and prefers “cool jazz” by the greats—Davis, Mulligan, Monk. His wife, Linda, is a pediatrician, daughter, Sarah, a science writer, and son, Ben, a computer science major at Tufts.
“The thrill of finding creative solutions to complex problems is what interests me,” Lewin says. “Whether the problem is research, clinical, or business, what matters is the level of complexity, and the challenge in figuring out the solution.”