It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Michael Jack Levy, MD.
Dr Levy was a highly distinguished and widely recognized clinician and thought leader in EUS, advanced endoscopy, and artificial intelligence, as well as a mentor and friend to many of us. He ignited curiosity in his students, colleagues, and friends around the world.
Dr Levy was born on June 21, 1964, in Columbia, South Carolina, the second of two siblings. He obtained his undergraduate degree and his medical degree from the University of South Carolina in 1986 and 1991, respectively. Dr Levy completed his residency at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, School of Medicine, in North Carolina in 1995. He also completed fellowships in Gastroenterology, ERCP, and EUS at the University of South Alabama; St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, respectively. After the completion of his training, he began working as an interventional endoscopist and pancreatologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. where he remained throughout his career. During this time, he mentored and fostered the careers of almost 40 GI fellows, many of whom went on to become advanced endoscopists in their own right. Although most readers will think of EUS when Dr Levy’s name comes to mind, he was also well known for his skills as a biliary endoscopist, and he performed ERCP at a high level during his entire career.
During his time at Mayo Clinic, his research resulted in the publication of almost 300 peer-reviewed publications on a broad spectrum of subjects, although the focus of much of his work was EUS. His writings on EUS were very diverse. His passion was for disruptive technology and innovation to drive and enhance clinical patient care.
Dr Levy identified an opportunity to change the landscape of cancer diagnoses through the emerging field of artificial intelligence (AI). From the beginning, it was clear that he wanted to create AI that meaningfully affected the lives of patients by accelerating accurate diagnoses and improving outcomes. His first foray into AI involved the use of a type of deep-learning AI—the convolutional neural network (CNN)—in EUS. The EUS-CNN developed by Dr Levy and his team proved capable of distinguishing pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma from autoimmune pancreatitis, a dilemma that had frustrated endosonographers for many years. He placed in motion works that he hoped would shake the foundation of cancer diagnostics. Although much of this work is unfinished, it is now the expressed goal of his collaborators and mentees to honor his legacy by advancing these projects and to do that which was always at the forefront of his mind—to improve the lives of patients with cancer.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Dr Levy had a passion for sport, namely, his beloved South Carolina Gamecocks (football and basketball) and tennis. Trips to the US Tennis Open in Flushing Meadows were a highlight, and he relished his professional travels around the world to countries including Iran, India, Russia, China, and The Netherlands.
Dr Levy was also dedicated to the ASGE in general and to Gastrointestinal Endoscopy in particular. He was a faculty member at innumerable ASGE courses and was highly sought after to present on a wide range of topics related to endoscopy in general and EUS in particular. He frequently laced his presentations with his personal brand of wry and self-deprecating humor, all delivered with his well-known and distinctive South Carolina drawl. He loved to both write and review manuscripts, and he found great interest in all things endoscopic, especially those related to EUS. During his association with Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, he initially served as an Editorial Board member and subsequently as Chair of the Editorial Board (2013-2017). Dr Levy was also a member of the Editorial Review Board and the New Media Board. In addition, Dr Levy was honored with a Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Top Reviewer Award in 2008, 2012, and 2022, highlighting his many years of service to this journal.
As Michael’s colleagues and friends, we are honored to have known and worked with him and to have watched him flourish as a clinician and a scholar. His impact on his patients, peers, and mentees will be profound and long-lasting. He will be deeply missed.
Published online: February 06, 2023
© 2023 by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy