November 6, 2023
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine Appointed as Medical Director of Center for Child Counseling
Center for Child Counseling announces the appointment of Shannon Fox-Levine, M.D., as Medical Director. Dr. Fox-Levine joins the Palm Beach County-based nonprofit at a critical time as our nation’s youth face a mental health crisis and there is a shortage of professionals who can support their overall well-being.
The current snapshot of Palm Beach County’s youth mental health is alarming. In 2021, 41.5% of Palm Beach County high school students reported that they felt hopeless, and 20.7% of total high school students seriously contemplated suicide (PBC Youth Behavioral Health Survey). Today, one in four children suffer a mental health or behavioral concern.
In 2022, the entire state of Florida had a total of 493 children and adolescent psychiatrists with 43 practicing in Palm Beach County–one psychiatrist per 6,553 children under the age of 18 in the county (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry).
According to Renée Layman, CEO of the Center, “We are thrilled to enhance our collaboration with Dr. Fox-Levine and further tackle system issues, advocate for children, and create action to improve the mental health and access to quality care for the children in our community.”
The creation of the Medical Director position is a continuation of the partnership the Center has been building with Dr. Fox-Levine and her pediatric office, Palm Beach Pediatrics, for more than a decade. In addition to Center for Child Counseling integrating its services within Palm Beach Pediatrics to deliver an array of prevention, early intervention, and mental health services within the primary care setting, Dr. Fox-Levine will now expand early intervention and prevention methods within the community and advocate for change within the systems.
“One of my long-term goals has been to bridge the gap in the continuity of care of children with mental health issues between therapists and the county’s pediatricians. With this new role, I am excited to turn this dream into a reality and improve the mental health care for all children in Palm Beach County,” stated Dr. Fox-Levine.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: “Pediatric clinicians are on the front lines of caring for children and adolescents and, thus, have the greatest potential for early identification of and response to childhood trauma. Data indicate that, although pediatric providers intuitively understand the negative effects of trauma, they report a lack of knowledge, time, and resources as major barriers to providing trauma-informed care. Yet, experts believe that the complete assessment of child and adolescent behavioral, developmental, emotional, and physical health requires consideration of trauma as part of the differential diagnosis to improve diagnostic accuracy and appropriateness of care.”
As Medical Director, Dr. Fox-Levine’s scope of services will include: developing a collaborative model of care between primary pediatrics and mental health in the community; developing and presenting trainings and workshops on psychopharmacology, pediatric medical conditions, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma, and other topics to enhance professional knowledge; mental health diagnoses consultation and follow-up care coordination; and providing oversight of medical students to develop a formal internship experience within the Center.
Layman and Dr. Fox-Levine agree there is no lack of resources available to children and families in Palm Beach County; the lack of communication about the resources is where the barrier exists.
“When conversations happen in the community, pediatricians are often overlooked when they are the ones who have been seeing kids and their families since the day they were born. There’s a gap between what pediatricians do and what community organizations and schools do. So, we are thrilled to have Dr. Fox-Levine to help further our work within our community by advocating for the continuity of care. She will be the voice on behalf of pediatricians and connect pediatric offices to the community resources available to their patients and families,” said Layman.
About Shannon Fox-Levine, M.D.: Dr. Fox-Levine is a pediatrician and the sole owner of Palm Beach Pediatrics, where she has worked for 20 years. She completed medical school at University of Maryland at Baltimore and trained in pediatrics at Bellevue/NYU Hospital. Her goal as a pediatrician is to give the best comprehensive medical care to children while also being an advocate for them in the community. Integrating mental health care for children into primary care is her special interest. She has worked with Center for Child Counseling for ten years promoting trauma-informed care and developed educational tools for other primary care doctors to evaluate, manage, and treat common mental health disorders in children and adolescents. She is on a school-based committee to address the increase in Baker Acts during the pandemic. She also has an interest in the business of medicine and enjoys managing the practice. She has been an advocate for pediatricians to improve payment for services in Florida as the past chair of the Florida Pediatric council, most notably negotiating a grant from a major health plan to subsidize consultation hours for Patient Centered Medical Home recognition for independently owned pediatric practices. She currently serves on the AAP Payer Advocacy and Advisory Committee to improve payment to pediatricians to decrease the financial barrier to access to high quality care for all children. She was the President of the Palm Beach Pediatric Society for ten years, organizing CME for peers in the community. One of her most proud achievements is advocating for child safety by being one of six named pediatricians in the “Docs vs. Glocks” lawsuit against the State of Florida which found in the doctors’ favor in Federal Appellate Court. With COVID-19, she was an active participant in the state chapter and local school board discussions about returning children to school safely. She has been married for 22 years with two sons, 21 and 18. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and exercising.
About Center for Child Counseling
Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County since 1999. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. www.centerforchildcounseling.org Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc