Dr. E. T. Lisansky, medical educator

August 18, 1993|By Staff Report

Dr. Ephraim T. Lisansky, a nationally known physician and medical educator whose special interest was in the social and emotional causes of disease, died Monday of congestive heart failure.

Dr. Lisansky, a Baltimore native who was 80, graduated from City College, the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland medical school.

After a tour of duty in the South Pacific during World War II, he practiced internal medicine in Baltimore from 1945 to 1980.

He also taught at the UM medical school during those years and at the School of Social Work from 1961 to 1980.

Dr. Lisansky held full professorships in medicine and psychiatry.

His blending of psychiatry and internal medicine in treating patients was pioneering.

In 1974, he became the first internist to be chosen for the William C. Menninger Memorial Award, given by the American College of Physicians (ACP), for "distinguished contribution to the science of mental health."

In 1970, the ACP regents elected him to a prestigious mastership.

Dr. Eugene Brody, who was chairman of the UM psychiatry department when Dr. Lisansky taught there, said of him, "Eph was one of our most effective teachers in the borderline between psychiatry and medicine, and served as a role model for a number of young physicians working at this. . . . What is not explicitly in the written record of his care, but what shines through, is his devotion to the practice of medicine, to transmitting his knowledge and art to others, and to clarifying the nature of the doctor-patient interactions. These factors together have made him an exemplar of his field."

He received numerous other awards, published at least 25 articles in medical journals and contributed to four medical textbooks.

His favorite maxim was that a physician has to know as much about the person who has the disease as he does about "the disease that has the person."

One of Dr. Lisansky's students at the School of Social Work in the mid-1960s was Barbara A. Mikulski, a former social worker who is now a Democratic U.S. senator.

"He made things really come alive and linked medical needs to family needs," Ms. Mikulski said of him recently. "He was really innovative. Nobody else was doing this back then."

Dr. Lisansky said when he retired that his patients meant more to him than his professional awards.

Services were to be held at 1 p.m. today at the Sol Levinson & Bros. Home, 6010 Reisterstown Road in Baltimore.

Dr. Lisansky is survived by his wife, Sylvia, a former social worker with whom he jointly taught at the School of Social Work; a daughter, Deborah Lisansky Beck of Boston; a son, Dr. Jonathan Lisansky of Albuquerque, N.M.; a sister, Bertha Livingston of New York City; and two grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the Lisansky Annual Lectureship at Sinai Hospital.

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