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Remembering a Giant of Endocrinology: Norman Fleischer, M.D.

On May 31, the Einstein-Montefiore community learned of the unexpected passing of longtime, beloved faculty member and mentor Norman Fleischer, M.D., a professor emeritus of medicine and former chief of the division of endocrinology. He was 82.

“Dr. Fleischer was a brilliant clinician, researcher and leader as well as a decent and humble person, friend, colleague and mentor,” notes Yaron Tomer, M.D., a professor and the chair of medicine and a professor of microbiology & immunology, and the Anita and Jack Saltz Chair in Diabetes Research at Einstein and Montefiore. “He was one of the giants of our institution.”

Norman Fleischer joined Einstein in 1972 and made countless contributions to the field of diabetes and to the Einstein and Montefiore community. An internationally recognized authority on diabetes treatment and research, he studied both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and how the body regulates insulin production and secretion. He also investigated the use of pancreatic beta cells as a possible cell-based treatment.

In 1976, Dr. Fleischer successfully submitted a grant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish the first Einstein Diabetes Research and Training Center, which has received NIH funding ever since. Dr. Fleischer also built a robust clinical endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism division, which has trained nearly 60 fellows and has 30 full-time faculty members.

“He was a consummate physician who was widely sought after and was committed to the social mission at Einstein and Montefiore,” notes Harry Shamoon, M.D., a longtime colleague, a professor of medicine and the associate dean for clinical and translational research at Einstein.

After Dr. Fleischer retired as chief in 2017, a special research symposium was held to recognize his talent as a leader, scientist, clinician, mentor, and humanitarian. In his opening remarks, Steven M. Safyer, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Montefiore Medicine, announced the formation of the Fleischer Institute for Diabetes and Metabolism at Montefiore and Einstein, named in Dr. Fleischer’s honor. 

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