NCMS Creates Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership

kanofWhen Dr. Elizabeth P. Kanof arrived at the Umstead Hotel in Cary Friday night, she expected to have dinner with colleagues to discuss possible funding for the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Leadership College, a project Dr. Kanof co-founded that serves as a national archetype for physician leadership development. Instead, she was met by over 100 people and a nearly $2 million endowment to the college.

The endowment, named Elizabeth P. Kanof, MD Leadership Development Endowment, will support the NCMS Leadership College and the newly created Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership.

“I think the College will become one of the most important programs the North Carolina Medical Society and its Foundation produces for many years to come,” said Darlyne Menscer, MD, President of the NCMS Foundation.

The newly established Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership will significantly expand on the Leadership College to provide innovative programs focused on developing physician leaders to advance the modernization of the healthcare delivery system. It will specifically create two additional educational tracks with expanded course work in clinical quality and administrative medicine.

“Our goal is to help physicians become leaders to ensure that our healthcare system provides better quality for individual patients and populations, is more cost effective and provides greater transparency,” said Carolyn Ferree, MD, former NCMS President. “The Institute for Physician Leadership will be a key incubator for effectuating these changes.”

At the gala announcing the Institute and its supporting endowment, Robert W.Charlie” Monteiro, MD, President of the NCMS, Dr. Menscer and Dr. Ferree thanked the more than 150 organizations and individuals who contributed to the endowment and kept the event a secret from Dr. Kanof.  Dr. Menscer then presented a documentary about the Leadership College, which was founded in 2003 and has since graduated over 175 participants.

Dr. Kanof is considered by most to be a leader in the community supporting various philanthropic endeavors, but Friday night she appeared overwhelmed as she learned of the extensive donor list of organizations that gave gifts of $25,000 or more for scholarships to assist physicians who participate in Leadership College.

“It speaks so highly of our program to see so many specialty societies and other physician-related organizations supporting these efforts,” said Dr. Menscer. Dr. Ferree then presented another documentary titled “Tending the Garden,” a tribute to Dr. Kanof’s life and her accomplishments.

Dr. Kanof was born May 9, 1935 in Brooklyn, NY to Drs. Frances Pascher and Abram ‘Abe’ Kanof. Her mother, a dermatologist, and her father, a pediatrician, passed along to their daughter their own passion for medicine and community service.

“I don’t know anyone else who has been through residency twice, once in utero and the second time 26 years later,” said Dr. Kanof on being a second-generation female dermatologist.  Dr. Kanof has said her mother was her medical inspiration. They even practiced together for a brief time when her parents retired to North Carolina in the early 1970s.

She also inherited a strong sense of community pride and service from her father. Dr. Abe Kanof was one of the founders of the Jewish Museum in New York in the 1940s. He also helped establish a collection at the NC Museum of Art. He passed away in 1999 at the age of 95 and was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2010. Dr. Kanof has since generously supported the Judaic Art Gallery at the NCMA. Today, the NCMA is one of only two art museums in the nation with a permanent display of Jewish ceremonial art.

Dr. Kanof married Ronald ‘Ron’ H. Levine, MD, former NC State Health Director, three days before starting medical school at New York University in 1960. Dr. Levine trained as a pediatrician but chose to join the Public Health Service, which led them to Durham, where Dr. Levine worked for the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Kanof finished her residency at Duke University and had every intention of returning to New York. Instead, they remained in Durham and raised their two children, Rabbi Mitchell C. Levine of Bexley, Ohio, and Rebecca ‘Becky’ A. Levine of Raleigh. Dr. Kanof opened a private practice, Raleigh Dermatology Associates, in 1965.

Throughout her career, Dr. Kanof was an eloquent and tenacious advocate for physician-led affordable health care. She went on to demonstrate her leadership abilities as President of the NCMS, NCMS Foundation and NC Medical Board as well as a co-founder of the Leadership College. However, in her acceptance speech Friday night, her first words were not to re-highlight her many accomplishments but rather to thank Michael Brennan, MD, with whom she co-founded the Leadership College.

“I can say without reservation that she is one of the North Carolina Medical Society’s most dedicated members who has given countless years of her time to further our great profession,” said Dr. Ferree. “She is one of the kindest human beings that I have ever known, who is loved and admired by us all.” Sentiments from all presenters seemed to echo that of Ferree’s — there seems no one more worthy of recognition than Dr. Kanof.

 To contribute to the endowment fund supporting the Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership or to learn more about the Leadership College, contact Pam Highsmith, Director of Development, at (800) 722-1350 or [email protected].


Share this Post