Peter E. Dans, M.D.


Dr. Dans is an internist with expertise in infectious diseases, geriatrics, quality assurance, and ethics. Born in 1937 in New York City, he graduated in 1953 from LaSalle Military Academy and in 1957 from Manhattan College, which also awarded him an honorary doctorate of science in 2003. After receiving his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he interned in 1961 on the Osler service of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1963, he was one of the first assistant residents to be sent to Calcutta for 3 months to care for cholera patients, following which he finished his residency at Presbyterian Hospital in New York. After a three year research fellowship in virology at the National Institutes of Health), he spent two years as a clinical infectious disease fellow at the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory of Boston City Hospital’s Harvard University service.

From 1969 to 1978, Dr. Dans was an assistant professor and then associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Medical Center. There, he directed the student and employee health services, and also helped found a sexually transmitted diseases clinic, an adult walk-in clinic, and a migrant health clinic. The latter, in Fort Lupton, Colorado north of Denver, is now the hub of a network of nine rural community health centers. In 1976, he was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson health policy fellowship at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences during which he worked with Senator Gaylord Nelson staffing the U.S. Senate authorizing and appropriations committees dealing with health care legislation. The next year, he served as project director of an IOM committee which issued an influential report on the need for more teaching about aging and care of the aged in medical education.

In 1978, he returned to Johns Hopkins where he remains an associate professor of medicine and of health policy and management. He established one of the first offices of medical practice evaluation in the nation aimed at improving patient care and decreasing costs. He also directed the required 1st year medical student course in Medical Ethics from 1983 to 1991 when he moved to the part-time faculty to become deputy editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Until 2012, he was an independent consultant with CVS/​Caremark, a pharmacy benefits management company, on issues related to geriatric polypharmacy and drug safety in the elderly.

The author or co-author of more than 100 scientific articles, book chapters, and other contributions to the medical literature, he also has written movie reviews since 1990 as “The Physician at the Movies” for Pharos, AOA’s quarterly publication. Beginning at age 62, he has published six books. The first, Doctors in the Movies: Boil the Water and Just Say Aah! (Medi-Ed Press 2000), looked at the treatment of doctors in movies from 1931 through 1997. This was followed by Perry’s Baltimore Adventure: A Birds-Eye View of Charm City first published in 2003 and then reprinted by Camino Books in 2007. A children’s book about the return of the peregrine falcons to Baltimore in 1978, it has been adapted to a lesson plan being used by the Baltimore City Schools to teach urban geography. Life on the Lower East Side (1937-50), a photography book/​memoir coauthored with photographer Rebecca Lepkoff and historian Suzanne Wasserman, was published in 2006 by Princeton Architectural Press. It is now in paperback and its fourth printing. His book entitled Christians in the Movies: A Century of Saints and Sinners, about the portrayal of Christians, especially Catholics, in about 200 films from 1905 through 2008, was published in May 2009 by Rowman and Littlefield and is now in paperback. His latest book is about his high school which closed in 2001 after 118 years. Entitled La Salle Military Academy: Pro Deo Pro Patria, The Life and Death of a Catholic Military School, it is available for purchase from the LSMA Foundation on the LSMA Alumni website.

He married his “better half” Colette Lizotte in 1966. A pianist, chemist, mother of 4, and a French immersion teacher in Baltimore County Public Schools, she died in October 2004 of metastatic breast cancer. “Colette’s Story,” a tribute to her, was self-published in 2011. Their children are: Maria, a doctor; Paul, a lawyer; Tom, a businessman,; and Suzanne, a lawyer and now stay-at-home Mom. So far, there are nine grandchildren.

Selected Works

The book looks at the changing perception of doctors in over 75 films from 1931 to 2000.
Christians in the Movies traces the arc of the portrayal in film of Christians from 1905 through 2008.
Children’s book blending nonfiction and fiction
The book recounts the story of the return of the peregrine falcons east of the Mississippi once DDT was banned.
This first monograph of Rebecca Lepkoff's works highlights the lost neighborhood between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges from the Bowery to the East River.

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