James M. Ellison, M.D., MPH, has been named The Swank Foundation Endowed Chair in Memory Care and Geriatrics at Christiana Care Health System. The chair is made possible by a $2.5 million gift from the Swank Foundation which is dedicated to transforming care for people with memory issues.
“Dr. Ellison brings recognized achievements and a career-long commitment to the health of those with geriatric mood and anxiety disorders and neurocognitive disorders,” said Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, president and CEO of Christiana Care. “He will further enrich the Swank Memory Care Center as a leading resource in Delaware and the region for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders. I deeply value the Swank Foundation’s partnership as we work together toward optimal health for patients with Alzheimer’s and memory disorders and support for the families who love them and partner with us in caring for them.”
Dr. Ellison will lead Christiana Care’s Swank Memory Care Center, a unique resource in Delaware and the region for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders, founded in 2011 with a $1.25 million grant from the Howard W. Swank, Alma K. Swank and Richard Kemper Swank Foundation. At the Swank Memory Care Center, a team that includes geriatricians, nurses, social workers and others works with patients and families to provide support, education and guidance from diagnosis through treatment.
The Swank Foundation Endowed Chair in Memory Care and Geriatrics will enrich the State of Delaware’s Alzheimer’s Plan, promoting public awareness of the disease, strengthening the support for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and advancing the important and growing infrastructure of related data, quality assurance and research.
Dr. Ellison joins Christiana Care from McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., most recently as chief psychiatrist and director of the Memory Disorders Clinic, director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Program and program director for the Partners HealthCare Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry. He has been an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In his private practice, Dr. Ellison has provided consultation to psychiatrists in the care of complex and treatment-resistant mood disorder patients and individuals with neurocognitive disorders. His recent research focuses on geriatric psychiatry, primarily related to depression in later life, dementia, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics.
Dr. Ellison earned his medical degree from the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, completed his residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and holds a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. He is board-certified in psychiatry, with added qualifications in geriatric psychiatry. He is considered an expert in psychopharmacology.
As a geriatric psychiatrist, Dr. Ellison has broadened public and professional awareness of mood symptoms in geriatric populations. He speaks to public interest groups and has lobbied for legislative reforms in the care of the elderly. He teaches and supervises physicians in training and practicing physicians, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse clinical specialists. He has lectured extensively and presented at national conferences, including two annual courses for psychiatrists at the American Psychiatric Association. He is an active member of multiple committees for professional associations, academia and health care organizations. Dr. Ellison is an author, editor and contributor to medical journals and books.
“In order for older patients to derive greater enjoyment from their later years, clinicians must take special care during evaluation, treatment and follow-up when working with this growing population,” said Dr. Ellison. “I am excited to join the exceptional team at the Swank Memory Care Center and look forward to our work together to advance awareness, prevention and care for people with memory and other cognitive issues.”
With multiple appearances on Boston Magazine’s Top Doctor list and named a Distinguished Life Fellow by the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Ellison’s honors include the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society 2014 Outstanding Psychiatrist Award for Advancement of the Profession, McLean Hospital’s 2012 Jonathan O. Cole Prize for excellence in psychiatry, and 2010 Educator of the Year from the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.