James M. Ellison, M.D., MPH

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James Ellison, M.D., MPH

James Ellison, M.D., MPH

The Swank Foundation Endowed Chair

Expertise & Research Interests

  • Psychopharmacology
  • Geriatric Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Psychiatry
  • Cognitive impairment and dementia


  • MD, University of California School of Medicine
  • MA, Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health

James Ellison, M.D., MPH

The Swank Foundation Endowed Chair

Dr. James Ellison is a geriatric psychiatrist and one of the nation's foremost experts in dementia.

He is the first Swank Foundation Endowed Chair in Memory Care and Geriatrics.

He works as a geriatric psychiatrist in an interdisciplinary consultative team that includes geriatricians, social workers, a neurologist, and a nurse practitioner devoted to the shared goal of treating people with mild to severe cognitive difficulties and related emotional and behavioral conditions.

His research interests have addressed cognitive and behavioral aspects of the neurocognitive disorders and he has served as a site Principal Investigator in multiple trials of new medications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.


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Media Appearances

Lewes-Rehoboth Rotary supports Alzheimer’s research, care and awareness

2019-10-20 , Cape Gazette
Longtime Rotarian Dave Keller and his wife Kathy recently hosted a cocktail party in their Lewes home to support and celebrate the work of Dr. James Ellison and his staff at ChristianaCare’s Swank Center for Memory Care and Geriatric Consultation - Delaware’s premier medical group leading the fight to bring awareness, care and eventually a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Certain Female Vets May Face Higher Dementia Risk

2018-12-12 , WebMD
Her theories were echoed by Dr. James Ellison, chair of memory care and geriatrics at ChristianaCare Health System in Wilmington, Del.

Does moisturizer REALLY cut dementia risk? Study claims healing dry skin reduces chemicals linked to the disease - but that does not mean lotion prevents Alzheimer's, expert warns

2019-03-14 , Daily Mail
'To put it in simple terms: Mr A might know Mr B, and Mr B might know Mr C. But that doesn't necessarily mean Mr C knows Mr A,' explains Dr James Ellison, Swank Foundation Endowed Chair in Memory Care and Geriatrics at ChristianaCare Health System in Delaware.

Experts Revisit Mandatory Age-Based Cognitive Testing for Physicians

2018-07-04 , Medscape
Experts are revisiting the controversial issue of mandatory, age-based cognitive testing to assess physician competence.

Delaware Achievers, Nov. 29

2015-11-24 , The News Journal
ChristianaCare Health System recently welcomed Dr. James M. Ellison, the new Swank Foundation Endowed Chair in Memory Care. Ellison, who joins ChristianaCare from McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, where he most recently served 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. Ellison will lead ChristianaCare’s Swank Memory Care Center for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and memory disorders. The Swank Memory Care Center was founded in 2011 with a $1.25 million grant from the Howard W. Swank, Alma K. Swank and Richard Kemper Swank Foundation. The foundation also donated a $2.5 million gift to establish the chair. Ellison earned a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health and a medical degree from the University of California School. He completed his residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Selected Papers and Publications

Medical Marijuana and Dementia-Associated Agitation: Stirring the Pot

2017-01-26 , Psychiatric Times
My 79-year-old memory clinic patient arrived with her daughter, whose first question caught me off guard: “Can you prescribe medical marijuana for my mother? I think it might help her agitation better than the medication you gave her last visit.” When I asked her why she thought that marijuana might help, she blushed and turned her eyes briefly away. “Well, the other night she was really bad . . . and we gave her a joint. She really calmed down.”
External Service and Affiliations
  • Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology : Editor
  • American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Psychiatric Society of Delaware
  • Group for Advancement of Psychiatry
  • American Medical Association
  • Medical Society of Delaware
  • Alpha Omega Alpha
  • American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology
  • American Psychiatric Association