David C. Leven, JD
David C. Leven is Executive Director Emeritus and Senior Consultant, End of Life Choices New York, after serving as its Executive Director from 2002 to 2016. He is an advocate for patients, seeking to improve care and expand choice for the dying. An expert on advance care planning, patient rights, palliative care and end-of-life issues, including medical aid in dying, Mr. Leven has played a leadership role in having legislation enacted in New York to improve pain management, palliative and end-of-life care. He initiated the Palliative Care Education and Training Act, the Palliative Care Information Act and laws pertaining to health care proxies and required continuing medical education for doctors on pain, palliative care and the end of life.
Mr. Leven lectures frequently to diverse professional groups and citizens on health care decision making and end-of-life issues. He has spoken at numerous medical centers, over a dozen law schools and has been a regular guest lecturer at College of New Rochelle School, and Mercy College Schools of Nursing as well as at Fordham Graduate School of Social Service. He has spoken at over 60 senior centers, retirement communities and libraries, and at numerous meetings and conferences. He has been a plenary or workshop speaker at Consortium of New York Geriatric Education Centers Conferences (twice), Jewish Home Life Care Annual Palliative Care Conference, Westchester/NYS Southern Region, Collaborative for Palliative Care Conferences (6 times) and Westchester Medical Group at West Harrison and Rye. He has also presented at the New York Academy of Medicine (twice), State Society on Aging of New York Conferences (four times), the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State Annual Meeting and at various medical centers, including Albany Medical Center, Lawrence Hospital, Mt. Sinai Medical School, North Shore LIJ, and Upstate Medical University. He has lectured at New York State Bar Association meetings (numerous lectures), New York City Bar Association, New York County Lawyers Association, Practicing Law Institute, Suffolk County Lawyers Association, and Westchester Women’s Bar Association.
Mr. Leven has appeared on Fox Cable TV, CBS TV, Channel 2 Local News, Regional News Network TV, WABC, Aljazeera, Fox Radio, CBS AM radio, BBC, WNYC, WVOX, WFAS and WLIB among others. He has been a periodic guest on the WBAI Health Styles program.
A graduate of the University of Rochester and Syracuse University College of Law, he is a recipient of various awards. These include the Public Interest Law Award of the New York State Bar Association Public Interest Committee and the Westchester Civil Liberties Union, Civil Liberties Award. He is a past Distinguished Lawyer in Residence at Touro Law School.
– Benjamin Franklin
“It is difficult to understand dying and death, so I think I have learned, and for each of us it is a different experience. For me, most important is autonomy, and to the extent possible we should be able to make our own decisions about the end of life so that when ready, we can hopefully die on our own terms. I also know that so much needs to be done to ensure that we are able to die when and how we would want.”