PSU Profiles
Last Name

Benjamin Levi

InstitutionCollege of Medicine
Address500 University Drive Hershey PA 17033
Mailbox: H134

Physician, Professor of Pediatrics and Humanities

B.A., Philosophy, Antioch College, 1983
M.A. Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana, 1992
Ph.D., Philosophy of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana, 1993
M.D., University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana, 1995
Pediatric Residency, Memorial Medical Center, Savannah, Georgia, 1999

Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics (2000).
Board Certified Pediatrician, American Academy of Pediatrics (1999, 2006).
Pediatric Advance Life Support (2011 recertification).
NIH Human participant Protections Education for Research Teams (2005)
Penn State Protection of Human Research Participants Investigator Training (2011 recertification).

Clinical Responsibilities:
Two days per week of clinical ambulatory pediatrics. In addition to my own panel of continuity patients, I oversee acute clinic for one half-day session–supervising the clinical work of 2-3 pediatrics residents as well as 1-2 medical students. The age range of my patients is newborn to 22 years, and I conduct ~1600 acute care visits and ~400 well-child visits per year. Additionally, I participate fully in the general pediatrics call schedule. In the past, I have also served as ward attending. (~800 hours/year)

This project involves developing and evaluating an interactive online decision aid that guides users through the process of advance care planning. This computer program, Making Your Wishes Known: Planning Your Medical Future (MYWK), uses multi-media formats to provide tailored education, engage individuals in values clarification and other reflective exercises, and generate a personalized advance directive. One of the most distinctive aspects of MYWK is that it uses an algorithm (based in multi-attribute utility theory) to translate individual values and preferences into a detailed advance directive comprising both general wishes and specific wishes. To date, we have published papers describing the program, explaining how it addresses various concerns about advance care planning, and providing data on its feasibility and efficacy.

Look Out for Child Abuse is an online resource for mandated reporters and others interested in protecting children from abuse. This website provides education on professional, legal, and clinical issues related to child abuse, along with practical tools for documenting and reporting suspected abuse. A collaborative effort of Penn State’s Department of Humanities, Children’s Hospital, and Center on Children and the Law, Look Out for Child Abuse is still very much a work in progress. The long-term goal is develop a broad-based repository of educational materials and web-based tools for various populations of mandated reporters and other professionals, as well as the general public.

This project examines the meaning and application of reasonable suspicion in the context of mandated reporting of suspected child abuse. This entails 1) conceptual analysis and clarification of reasonable suspicion, 2) empirical survey research to better understand how mandated reporters interpret and operationalize the threshold for reporting suspected child abuse (i.e., reasonable suspicion), and 3) policy analysis to discern how to standardize this threshold in a way that effectively protects children, is fair to parents, and makes sense to mandated reporters.

Current Teaching:
1. Ethics and Professionalism, course for 2nd-year medical students (Co-Director)
2. Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, month-long seminar for 4th-year medical students
3. Clinical Pediatrics, lectures & informal teaching to residents and med students
4. Pediatric Ethics, quarterly seminar for pediatrics residents
5. Pediatric Ethics, monthly seminar for 3rd-year med students on pediatrics clerkship
6. MICU/SICU Ethics Conference, monthly seminar for Medical and Surgical Intensive Care Unit residents, fellows and attending physicians (Facilitator)
7. Pediatric Critical Care Ethics, twice yearly seminar for critical care nurses (Lecturer)

 selected publications
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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  1. Green MJ, Schubart JR, Whitehead MM, Farace E, Lehman E, Levi BH. Advance Care Planning Does Not Adversely Affect Hope or Anxiety Among Patients With Advanced Cancer. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2015 Jun; 49(6):1088-96.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Paul IM, Levi BH. Metastasis of e-mail at an academic medical center. JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Mar; 168(3):290-1.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Volpe RL, Levi BH, Blackhall GF, Green MJ. Ethics pocket cards: an educational tool for busy clinicians. J Clin Ethics. 2014; 25(2):148-51.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Schubart JR, Levi BH, Dellasega C, Whitehead M, Green MJ. Factors that affect decisions to receive (or not receive) life-sustaining treatment in advance care planning. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2014 Feb; 52(2):38-44.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Levi BH, Wilkes M, Der-Martirosian C, Latow P, Robinson M, Green MJ. An interactive exercise in advance care planning for medical students. J Palliat Med. 2013 Dec; 16(12):1523-7.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Schubart JR, Toran L, Whitehead M, Levi BH, Green MJ. Informed decision making in advance care planning: concordance of patient self-reported diagnosis with physician diagnosis. Support Care Cancer. 2013 Feb; 21(2):637-41.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Green MJ, Levi BH. The era of "e": the use of new technologies in advance care planning. Nurs Outlook. 2012 Nov-Dec; 60(6):376-383.e2.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Volpe RL, Levi BH. Case study. Exploring the limits of autonomy. Commentary. Hastings Cent Rep. 2012 May-Jun; 42(3):16-7.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Schubart JR, Levi BH, Camacho F, Whitehead M, Farace E, Green MJ. Reliability of an interactive computer program for advance care planning. J Palliat Med. 2012 Jun; 15(6):637-42.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Crowell K, Levi BH. Mandated reporting thresholds for community professionals. Child Welfare. 2012; 91(1):35-53.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Green MJ, Levi BH. Teaching advance care planning to medical students with a computer-based decision aid. J Cancer Educ. 2011 Mar; 26(1):82-91.
    View in: PubMed
  12. Levi BH, Portwood SG. Reasonable suspicion of child abuse: finding a common language. J Law Med Ethics. 2011; 39(1):62-9.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Levi BH, Heverley S, Green MJ. Journal of Clinical Ethics. Simulated End-of-Life Decision Making: Accuracy of A Decision Aid for Advance Care Planning. 2011; 3(22):223-38.
  14. Levi BH, Heverley SR, Green MJ. Accuracy of a decision aid for advance care planning: simulated end-of-life decision making. J Clin Ethics. 2011; 22(3):223-38.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Levi BH, Crowell K. Child abuse experts disagree about the threshold for mandated reporting. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2011 Apr; 50(4):321-9.
    View in: PubMed
  16. Hossler C, Levi BH, Simmons Z, Green MJ. Advance care planning for patients with ALS: feasibility of an interactive computer program. Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 2011 May; 12(3):172-7.
    View in: PubMed
  17. Levi BH, Green MJ. Doing what we can with advance care planning. Am J Bioeth. 2010 Apr; 10(4):W1-2.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Levi BH, Green MJ. Too soon to give up: re-examining the value of advance directives. Am J Bioeth. 2010 Apr; 10(4):3-22.
    View in: PubMed
  19. Levi BH, Dellasega C, Whitehead M, Green MJ. What influences individuals to engage in advance care planning? Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2010 Aug; 27(5):306-12.
    View in: PubMed
  20. Levi B, Hester DM. Establishing common ground in a one-time patient encounter. Virtual Mentor. 2009; 11(3):215-22.
    View in: PubMed
  21. Kaldjian LC, Forman-Hoffman VL, Jones EW, Wu BJ, Levi BH, Rosenthal GE. Do faculty and resident physicians discuss their medical errors? J Med Ethics. 2008 Oct; 34(10):717-22.
    View in: PubMed
  22. Green MJ, Levi BH. Development of an interactive computer program for advance care planning. Health Expect. 2009 Mar; 12(1):60-9.
    View in: PubMed
  23. Kaldjian LC, Jones EW, Wu BJ, Forman-Hoffman VL, Levi BH, Rosenthal GE. Reporting medical errors to improve patient safety: a survey of physicians in teaching hospitals. Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jan 14; 168(1):40-6.
    View in: PubMed
  24. Levi BH. Addressing parents' concerns about childhood immunizations: a tutorial for primary care providers. Pediatrics. 2007 Jul; 120(1):18-26.
    View in: PubMed
  25. Kaldjian LC, Jones EW, Wu BJ, Forman-Hoffman VL, Levi BH, Rosenthal GE. Disclosing medical errors to patients: attitudes and practices of physicians and trainees. J Gen Intern Med. 2007 Jul; 22(7):988-96.
    View in: PubMed
  26. Levi BH, Brown G, Erb C. Reasonable suspicion: a pilot study of pediatric residents. Child Abuse Negl. 2006 Apr; 30(4):345-56.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Levi BH, Brown G. Reasonable suspicion: a study of Pennsylvania pediatricians regarding child abuse. Pediatrics. 2005 Jul; 116(1):e5-12.
    View in: PubMed
  28. Levi BH, Brown G. Description of the immunization information database: a tool for investigating allegations made against childhood immunizations. Vaccine. 2005 Mar 14; 23(16):2009-15.
    View in: PubMed
  29. Weiner BK, Levi BH. The profit motive and spine surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 Nov 15; 29(22):2588-91.
    View in: PubMed
  30. Levi BH, Thomas NJ, Green MJ, Rentmeester CA, Ceneviva GD. Jading in the pediatric intensive care unit: Implications for healthcare providers of medically complex children. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2004 May; 5(3):275-7.
    View in: PubMed
  31. Levi BH, Loeben G. Index of suspicion: feeling not believing. Theor Med Bioeth. 2004; 25(4):277-310.
    View in: PubMed
  32. Green MJ, Levi BH. The truth about lying. Am J Bioeth. 2004; 4(4):63-4.
    View in: PubMed
  33. Levi BH, Green MJ. Ethical concerns for organ transplant coordinators. Prog Transplant. 2003 Dec; 13(4):242-8.
    View in: PubMed
  34. Levi BH. Withdrawing nutrition and hydration from children: legal, ethical, and professional issues. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2003 Mar; 42(2):139-45.
    View in: PubMed
  35. Levi BH, Green MJ. Humanities in full retreat. Teach Learn Med. 2003; 15(4):252-6.
    View in: PubMed
  36. Levi BH. Ethical conflicts between residents and attending physicians. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2002 Nov-Dec; 41(9):659-67.
    View in: PubMed
  37. Levi BH. Medical Humanities Review. Patient Autonomy: A Dialogical Approach. 1999; 2(13):17-27.
  38. Levi BH. Four approaches to doing ethics. J Med Philos. 1996 Feb; 21(1):7-39.
    View in: PubMed
  39. Green, MJ Horowitz, B. Journal of General Internal Medicine. Until I Met Mary. 1989; 6(4):563-64.
  40. Horowitz B. JAMA. The AMA's Position on the Death Penalty. 1989; 1(261):133-34.
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