Dr. Cynthia Levy Honored with Arthur H. Hertz Endowed Chair in Liver Diseases
As the late Arthur Hertz’s sons, family, friends, and colleagues looked on, his legacy extended into yet another extraordinary chapter at the University of Miami. During an emotional ceremony on May 13, the Arthur H. Hertz Endowed Chair in Liver Diseases was formally presented, bringing with it resources in perpetuity so UM’s physician-scientists can innovate state-of-the-art treatments and cures for liver disease.
Cynthia Levy, M.D., an associate professor in the Division of Hepatology at the Miller School of Medicine, said she was humbled to be the chair’s inaugural holder.
“I’d like to thank the donors and everyone here,” said Dr. Levy, who is also associate director of the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases. “It is truly an honor to receive the Arthur H. Hertz Endowed Chair in Liver Diseases.”
Hertz was one of UM’s proudest and most active alumni, a senior member of the University of Miami Board of Trustees, and a dedicated community advocate. With a remarkable legacy spanning more than 60 years at UM, first as a business student and later as an alumni leader, Hertz helped to shape and support the University.
“Arthur Hertz meant so much to the University community,” said Julio Frenk, president of the University of Miami. “That’s why we are deeply grateful to the Hertz family, the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation, and the Gabelli Foundation for helping us to cement Arthur’s legacy here at the University. His commitment and dedication will now be memorialized through this endowed chair.”
One of Hertz’s most significant connections to the Miller School was in his decades-long friendship with Eugene Schiff, M.D., director of the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases. The two met when their children, Andrew Hertz, and Dave Schiff, were classmates at a Montessori school when they were two years old.
Dr. Schiff remembered Hertz as a “very unique and special friend” who was always willing to help.
“Whenever I needed support, whether it be for an employee we were adding or a piece of equipment we needed and we didn’t have the money for, Art would come up with it,” said Dr. Schiff, who is also Leonard Miller Professor of Medicine, Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair, and director of the Hepatology Research Laboratory at the Miller School of Medicine. “Art resolved problems, and he was highly respected for that.”
The idea for the Arthur H. Hertz Endowed Chair in Liver Diseases came about after Hertz passed away in 2017, and it was made possible thanks to the combined generosity of the Gabelli Foundation, which was co-founded by Mario Gabelli, a longtime friend and colleague of Art Hertz, the Arthur H. Hertz Estate and Trust, and the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation.
“Art was like a member of our family, and he treated us like family,” said Louis Wolfson III, a trustee of the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation. “We are so thrilled to be a part of this honor, which will live on forever and ever at the University of Miami, which was Art’s true love.”
In addition to his more than 35 years on the Board of Trustees, Hertz was also a former president of the UM Alumni Association and a member of Iron Arrow, the highest honor bestowed at the University.
He supported many scholarships and programs, including the Arthur H. Hertz Endowed Business Scholarship at the Miami Business School.
He was a generous donor to the Miller School of Medicine — particularly the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service (DOCS) — both as a trustee of the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation and in his personal philanthropy.
“Arthur Hertz’s legacy and generosity to the University, the Miller School, and our community is the reason we are all here tonight,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School. “An endowed chair is one of the highest academic honors that we can confer on a faculty member and a tribute to the faculty member’s achievements. It instills our sincere and utmost confidence that this individual is going to continue on a path of excellence.”
Keith Lindor, M.D., professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, introduced Dr. Levy. The two met when Dr. Levy did a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Lindor has since served as her mentor. Dr. Lindor said Dr. Levy is an acknowledged leader in her field, who is doing groundbreaking work in identifying the differences within populations of the clinical features of liver disease.
“Dr. Levy’s success would have been not as great if she had not been working at the Schiff Center, but I also think the Liver Center’s success wouldn’t have been as great without Dr. Levy in it,” said Dr. Lindor, who is also a professor and senior advisor in the Office of the University Provost at the University of Arizona State University. “It is wonderful to see this sort of symbiotic relationship for both parties.”
Dr. Levy is nationally and internationally known for her expertise and original research contribution in cholestatic liver diseases. She has a spectrum of research grants, predominantly clinical trials, which she helped design.
Dr. Levy earned her medical degree from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro RJ, Brasil in 1995, and did residencies both there and at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. She then completed a fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and worked at the University of Florida in an advanced fellowship in transplant hepatology.
“I found a home at the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases when I arrived here,” Dr. Levy said. “I found a team that works together for one common goal: to provide the patients with the best possible experience when they are participating in studies and helping us advance the science. It is truly patient-centered research.”
Dr. Levy is a renowned educator, speaker, and author, and has been a leader among women in academic medicine. She thanked her friends and colleagues, particularly Dr. Schiff, whom she said “leads from the heart” at the Schiff Center.