Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Michael H. Levy, MD, PhD, Receives American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s Lifetime Achievement Award

March 26, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (February 27, 2015)—Michael H. Levy, MD, PhD, Director of the Pain and Palliative Care Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center and one of the founding leaders of the American hospice and palliative care movement, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) – a professional organization made up of 5,000 physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers, dedicated to advancing hospice and palliative medicine and improving the care of patients with life-threatening or serious conditions.

The AAHPM Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes outstanding contributions and significant publications that have helped shape the direction of the field of hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Levy received the award on Friday, February 27 during the AAHPM and Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Annual Assembly in Philadelphia.

“I’ve dedicated 35 years to integrating hospice and palliative medicine into comprehensive cancer care, so this recognition is a great honor,” says Dr. Levy. “My goal has been, and still is, to carry the message that hospice and palliative care are the completion, not the antithesis, of state-of-the-art cancer care.”

Dr. Levy, who spent his entire career on the palliative-curative interface and has advanced its art and science, first became interested in end-of-life care as a medical student in 1972.  He served as Jefferson Medical College’s representative to a death and dying sensitivity and education group called Ars Moriendi, whose members helped import hospice care into North America and became the pioneers of the American hospice movement. Dr. Levy also taught the school’s first death and dying class. He served on the Ars Moriendi Executive Committee for four years, using it as his clinical thread to patient care while working on his PhD research.

Throughout his internal medicine residency and his medical oncology fellowship, Dr. Levy continued to learn and teach hospice principles and practice, empowered by his connection with Ars Moriendi and its successor, the International Working Group for Death, Dying and Bereavement. It was during his medical oncology fellowship training that Dr. Levy decided he wanted to be a medical oncologist who specialized in hospice.

In the absence of established hospice medical training programs in this country, Dr. Levy sought training at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London and the Palliative Care Service at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. In 1981, he was hired by Fox Chase Cancer Center to work as a medical oncologist and develop the Pain and Palliative Care Program – which he still directs.

The program provides palliative care in both the inpatient and ambulatory care settings and is integrated into the training of Temple University Health System/Fox Chase medical oncology fellows and internal medicine residents and students.

In 1983, Dr. Levy was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Hospice Organization and served as its Treasurer and then it’s Vice Chairman. In 1990, he began his 11-year membership of the Board of Directors of the AAHPM and served as its President in 1999. He is the Chairperson of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Palliative Care Guideline Panel and a member of its Distress and Cancer Pain Guideline Panels. He is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)’s Supportive Care Guideline Advisory Group and is currently co-chairing its Chronic Pain in Cancer Survivors guideline panel.

Dr. Levy was awarded the National Hospice Organization’s Person of the Year Award in 1992 and its Heart of Hospice Clinician Award in 2003. He received AAHPM’s Distinguished Service Award in 2001 and ASCO’s inaugural Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014. 

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence five consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.


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