Dr. Morton L. Levin
Dr. Morton L. Levin, the former Baltimore resident who was among the first epidemiologists to link cigarette smoking to lung cancer, died July 7 of pneumonia at a hospital in Riverhead, N.Y. He was 91.
Dr. Levin, who moved from Baltimore to Port Jefferson, N.Y., in 1989, was still a visiting professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, a position he had held since 1967.
He began a study of the smoking habits of cancer patients at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1938. The study, which showed more cigarette smokers had lung cancer than nonsmokers, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1950.
Asked after the study was published if he smoked cigarettes, he replied, "Gentlemen, I have just quit."
A native of Russia who came to Baltimore as an infant with his family, he was a graduate of City College and attended the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, before graduating at the top of his class at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1930. He then earned a master's degree and a doctorate at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.
He taught there for two years, then joined the staff at Roswell in 1936. In 1939, he left for the New York State Health Department, where he was assistant commissioner for medical services when he left in 1959.
He returned to Roswell where he was chief of the Department of Epidemiology until he retired in 1967 and returned to Hopkins.
His marriage to the former Helen Alpert ended in divorce. He is survived by two daughters, Hilary Mindlin of Tucson, Ariz., and Brett Bernstein Pinto of Quogue, N.Y.; and two grandchildren. Services were private.