Irving Paul Ackerman, MD
March 20, 1928 – July 24, 2020
Irving Paul Ackerman, M.D. March 20, 1928 – July 24, 2020
On Friday, July 24, 2020, Irving Paul Ackerman, M.D., died peacefully in Los Angeles. Irv, Dad, Grandpa or Dr. Ackerman, as he was known, touched many lives with his humanity, good nature and outstanding healing skills.
At 16, during wartime, Irv attended Columbia University where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in two years. He began Columbia Medical School at the age of 18 and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha fraternity. His residency was at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and his fellowship in Endocrinology was at the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Irv returned to MGH to begin his practice and married Mona Bentley. While living in Massachusetts, the Ackermans had three daughters.
Irv thrived taking care of patients, yet he felt strongly that fee-for-service medicine was not a good model for health care. So, in 1970 with Mona’s full support, he moved the family to California to join Kaiser Permanente. Irv, Mona and the girls, along with three kittens, spent two weeks driving across the country and visiting family as they made their way to Los Angeles. It was quite an adventure!
Once there, Irv began his long and fulfilling career with the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, practicing the kind of medicine he truly believed in. Shortly after joining, Irv became the Chief of Internal Medicine, a post he held for 12 years. He was famous for the Ackerman note, a handwritten note sent to many a physician complimenting them on a job well done. Irv was a doctor’s doctor and many physicians and their wives became his patients. Through the years, he held many titles, earned numerous awards and recognitions, and was loved by patients and staff. He also mentored many doctors, not just in good medicine, but also in how to see each patient as an individual and provide kind, respectful care. Irv continued teaching medical residents until he was 84 and loved every minute of it. So did Kaiser Permanente. In 2000 the library at the Los Angeles Medical Center was named after Irv. It was a fitting honor given his intellectual rigor.
Within and outside of medicine, Irv lived by his ideals. He exercised regularly (always taking the stairs, swimming daily through most of the year and eating a healthy diet), was a record-breaking blood donor, gave generously to the causes he believed in and volunteered at free clinics and voting polls. He was very close to his daughters, Diane, Laurie and Sandra, their husbands, Douglas, Jama and Matthew, his grandchildren, Benjamin, Julia, Mariam, Sofia, William and Spencer, and his nieces and nephews. He will be dearly missed.
Irv’s favorite charities are Southern Poverty Law Center (splcenter.org), Planned Parenthood (plannedparenthood.org), Americans United for Separation of Church and State (au.org), or American Jewish World Service (ajws.org). To leave a memory or tribute, please go to stricklinsnivelycares.com.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Irving Paul Ackerman, MD
August 9, 2020
Irv was the Chief of Medicine who hired me as a general Internist in 1978, I felt his gentle but firm guidance as I navigated KP practice. He recognized my restlessness and led me to enter the nascent field of Geriatrics. He recommended me to become the founding Medical Director of the KP Hospice, Metro LA, in 1983 which became a very satisfying and fruitful career in hospice and palliative care for 35 years. I am very grateful to Irv for his leadership, vision, and humanity. He was a mensch!
August 8, 2020
In 1975 I joined Irv Ackerman's department of Internal Medicine at Kaiser Sunset as an intern. He was my attending physician when I was an intern and resident. I learned how to present patients' problems to him in the clear practical manner he preferred. He was supportive of his fellow doctors and kind and direct with patients. Irv was my chief of service until I left Sunset in 1989, transferring to Kaiser Panorama City to help establish the emergency department. Irv helped me move into that position: I had mentioned to him that I wanted to move into leadership, and he recommended me to a fellow SCPMG board member when the opening appeared.
As chief of service Irv always listened to both sides of an issue, making notes in his small pocket notebook. He later told me that writing the issue down made the person feel the matter was being attended to.
I think that the sign of the highest regard bestowed on Irv was the adoption of the "Ackerman Principals" by the SCPMG board of directors. These ethical principals are now adopted into the hiring contracts of all new physicians of the Medical Group. It is as if he was a true descendant of Hippocrates - author of a set of principals guiding physicians into a code of ethical practice suited to the historical time and place.
I want Mona and his family to know that Miriam and I have fond memories of Irv.
July 27, 2020
I'm very sorry for the loss of Irving to the world. He was one of the kindest people I've ever known. His intelligence, generosity and humor benefitted so many people - including me. His name for me was Stephen-feffen-hoofen-bottom. Although I no longer go by that name, it will always be a part of me, thanks to Irving.
July 27, 2020
We were honored to have Mona and Irving attend our wedding. I'll never forget at the rehearsal dinner when Irving accidentally walked into the Ladies restroom and Wayne caught it on tape. We all laughed about that for a long time.
I'm so sorry that Irving passed. It's a terrible loss to lose both Mona and Irving in such a short time. Irving was a loving, caring person along with being incredibly smart and successful. He will always be in our hearts.