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Dr. Nancy Ryan Lowitt, Longtime UMSOM Medical Education Leader, Administrator and Beloved ‘One of a Kind’ Colleague; Remembered for Her Extraordinary Compassion and Kindness

May 19, 2020

Nancy R. Lowitt, MD, EdM, FACP

Dr. Lowitt had recently been promoted to Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development; Known by Colleagues as Special Individual Who Always Put Others First

Nancy R. Lowitt, MD, EdM, FACP, a longtime University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) educator and national leader in faculty affairs and professional development, who was known across the UMSOM community for her gentle kindness, collaborative spirit and selfless demeanor, has passed away.

Dr. Lowitt, who had taken on increasing responsibilities for major UMSOM faculty and organizational management functions over her 22-year tenure, was a nationally recognized expert on medical education and faculty development.  In addition to her longstanding professional contributions, she was often described by colleagues across the UMSOM as one of the “kindest, friendliest and most caring people they knew.”

Dr. Lowitt is survived by her husband, Mark Lowitt, MD, and their three children.  Dr. Mark Lowitt served on the full-time faculty at UMSOM from 1993 to 2004 and is currently Adjunct Associate Professor in the UMSOM Department of Dermatology.  He completed his residency in Dermatology at the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS).

“The entire UMSOM community has lost one of its most beloved friends and colleagues,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine.  “Nancy Lowitt was a School of Medicine ‘Treasure’—someone who touched every part of our academic mission, and touched the hearts of everyone she met.  I will miss her dearly, as one of my most trusted advisors who has served as my Associate Dean throughout my entire term as Dean.  She was always eager to take on additional responsibilities in critical areas, assuming leadership roles in faculty affairs, as Chief Conflict of Interest Officer, as inaugural Director of the Culture Transformation Initiative, and as one of the Sponsors of the Women in Medicine and Science organization.  In each of these roles, she had an extraordinary sense of fairness, empathy, and wisdom that shed new light on the most difficult and challenging situations.  She was a trailblazer who always worked tirelessly to ensure equality, diversity, and inclusion in our culture.  She was an inspirational role model to our faculty.  Most of all, she was one of the most caring, compassionate, and selfless people I have ever met.  She leaves a lasting legacy that will never be forgotten.  On behalf of our entire community, I want to express my deepest sympathies to Dr. Mark Lowitt and the entire Lowitt family, as we offer our strength and support to them during this difficult time.”

Dean Emeritus Donald E. Wilson recalled Dr. Lowitt’s impact in his administration:

“When Nancy agreed to become part of the dean's office in 1998, we had just completed a complete overhaul of our undergraduate medical education program. Nancy addressed two other areas that needed fixing- graduate and continuing medical education. She was hard working, deeply committed, and always did her best to support the school, its faculty and students. I personally benefited by her presence, as did the school of medicine. Her loss will be deeply felt.”

Added Bruce Jarrell, MD, Interim President, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB): “I was deeply saddened to hear of Nancy’s passing.  She and I worked together for more than 20 years and I came to rely on her for her dedication to medical education, to mentoring women and developing leaders.  She was a kind and caring person with a heart of gold, and I will miss her presence at the university."

Her colleagues at the University of Maryland Medical System and Medical Center, Mohan Suntha, MD, President and CEO, UMMS and Alison Brown, MPH, Interim President, UMMC, commented:

Nancy R. Lowitt, MD, EdM, FACP“Dr. Nancy Lowitt was a transformational leader who accomplished great things in service to our academic mission which she held so dear. She mentored many people with insight and a big heart. She served as a role model for many people, especially for women. She always had time for the individual, always had an open ear, always gave the benefit of the doubt, and always sought and found the best in people. She was a spiritual and values driven colleague who approached every challenge by asking ‘what is the right thing to do?’ Nancy defined integrity and her leadership inspired others.  Dr. Lowitt's partnership with UMMC to transform our shared culture is a legacy that will endure.  She will be dearly missed and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family, friends and the colleagues who had the privilege to work with her.”

Dr. Lowitt, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, had recently been promoted to Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development. She was widely recognized for her national leadership and involvement in medical education issues – serving for many years as a member of several committees of the Association of American Colleges (AAMC), the American College of Physicians, and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.  She had been honored by the Daily Record as one of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women.”

“Nancy Lowitt was a longtime colleague and collaborator who possessed immense dedication to education, equity and civility,” said Donna Parker, MD, FACP, Associate Professor of Medicine and Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education.  “Her always calm and thoughtful approach helped all of us manage many challenging situations with grace.  She will be incredibly missed by the institution and by the many friends she has here.”

Since 2018, Dr. Lowitt had taken the lead in developing and managing the implementation of the Dean’s Culture Transformation Initiative (CTI).  Under her leadership, the CTI launched a school-wide program to ensure a diverse, inclusive, and respectful professional environment for everyone at the UMSOM.  She then led implementation, in collaboration with UMB and UMMS, of a wide range of activities, programs and committees dedicated to making both short-term and long-term culture changes that continue to move forward– including policy enactment, professional development, equity in faculty promotions and compensation, and culture/climate research.

Nancy Lowitt at a Town Hall Meeting“Nancy was a dear friend and a wonderful colleague,” said James Kaper, PhD, the James & Carolyn Frenkil Distinguished Dean’s Professor, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, and Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology  “She took on a variety of important tasks, including navigating conflicts of interest issues and mediating interpersonal disputes. She did it all with grace and dedication with the best interest of the School of Medicine as her highest priority.  The Culture Transformation Initiative will be her lasting legacy,” he said.

Dr. Lowitt was recruited to lead UMSOM’s Graduate and Continuing Medical Education programs in 1998.   She assumed additional responsibilities for critical administrative areas since then – including faculty affairs, professional faculty development, conflict of interest, and culture transformation.  She had served as Associate Dean for Professional Development, then added Faculty Affairs, and further added her role as Chief Conflict of Interest Officer for the UMSOM in 2014, developing policy consistent with national guidelines and State and Federal law regarding conflict of interest.

Earlier this year, Dr. Lowitt led the UMSOM to achieve Accreditation with Commendation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

In a special note from her immediate staff in the Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development, (Robertha Simpson, Chanise Reese-Queen, Althea Pusateri, and Gloria Owens), they wrote:

Dr. Lowitt was a warm, family-oriented, calming and loving person.  A day didn’t pass without her flashing her beautiful smile and offering encouraging words.  We were blessed to have her as part of our lives all these years. She will be missed by all us who were privileged to know her.  The Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development will truly miss her, and would like to leave these words of remembrance:  Your gracious spirit and presence will be an everlasting mark in our lives.  We will think of you often and remember your special smile.  You will always be in our hearts.  Farewell Dr. Lowitt.”

Nancy R. Lowitt, MD, EdM, FACPDistinguished Career

Dr. Lowitt had a distinguished career that provided her with a strong foundation for leadership in medical education and professional development.

Dr. Lowitt received her AB Degree (Cum Laude) from Middlebury College in Vermont.  She graduated from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education with an Ed.M Degree, and received her M.D. Degree from George Washington University School of Medicine.  She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Harvard Medical School, New England Deaconess Hospital, and her fellowship in General Internal Medicine, Clinician Educator Track, at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  She also completed Facilitator in Training in both Teaching and Curriculum Development at Johns Hopkins.  She served as Assistant, then Associate, then Program Director, of the General Internal Residency Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and as a teaching attending in a primary care clinical practice.  She was elected to Fellowship in the American College of Physicians in 1997.  In 1998, she joined the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine as Assistant Professor, and was appointed Associate Dean of Graduate and Continuing Medical Education.  

In 2005, she was asked to add Faculty Development to her CME Portfolio of Programs. Her office organized a mandatory New Faculty Orientation for 150 new faculty each year--offering workshops in teaching skills and professional development open to all faculty, residents and fellows.

She had been active in educational program development and assessment locally, regionally, and nationally in Faculty Development.  The UMSOM Teaching Portfolio for Promotion Curriculum is one that she had presented nationally, and had been disseminated and adopted at other institutions since 2002.  She served as an external reviewer for the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators, and served as a member of national consensus conferences on Educational Scholarship convened by the AAMC.


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