Helene A. Emsellem, MD
Helene A. Emsellem, MD is a nationally known sleep expert and the mother of three daughters, Elyssa a recent graduate of University of Pennsylvania, who contributed a teen perspective to Snooze… or Lose!, Monique, a recent Muhlenberg College graduate, and Stella, a recent Connecticut College graduate, currently at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Iowa. As a physician and mother Dr. Emsellem understands on a personal and a scientific level, how sleep deprivation adversely affects teen health, learning, mood, and performance-and how those negative effects impact family life as well. To help teens understand the importance of sleep, and to empower them to own and improve their sleep-wake habits and schedules, Dr. Emsellem has written Snooze…or Lose! She has also developed an outreach program to educate adolescents, parents, teachers, administrators and legislators on the importance of sleep in adolescence and the benefits of making changes in the middle and high school start times. She speaks directly to middle and high school students across the country through her engaging and down-to-earth presentation “Sleep-Why Bother?” She also advises parents on the best ways to encourage good teen sleep patterns and is a strong advocate for changes in high school start times to allow teens to excel academically and thrive socially.
Dr. Emsellem has actively promoted sleep disorders awareness and the need for sleep education locally and nationally, acting as a go-to media resource for the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and a spokesperson for the recent Sleep in America Polls sponsored by the NSF. She was a key member of the NSF committee establishing the National Sleep Foundation’s Teen Sleep Awareness Program and was a featured speaker at the June 2005 meeting of the Association of Professional Sleep Societies, presenting in the National Sleep Foundation’s symposium “Adolescent Sleep and School Start Times.” Dr. Emsellem has also presented talks on “Sleep and Adolescents,” “The Physiology of Sleep in Adolescents,” and “What Is Normal for Sleep in Adolescents?” She has been the keynote speaker on sleep issues at such conferences as the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Emsellem has been featured as a sleep expert on “Medical Answers,” a syndicated PBS television show; “Doc in the House,” a syndicated radio call-in show; “ABC Now,” a cable program; and “Girl Talk,” a live radio call-in show in the Washington, D.C., area. She is also quoted regularly in columns and articles in national publications covering health and sleep, including Redbook, Glamour, U.S. News & World Report, Scientific American, the Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, MORE Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Weight Watchers Magazine and the AARP Bulletin.
In addition to appearing on radio and television shows, sharing her expertise through various publications and direct presentations, teaching and seeing patients, Dr. Emsellem has been the principal investigator in numerous national studies of investigational agents for the treatment of sleep disorders. She has also authored many articles and book chapters and her writing has appeared in publications such as Sleep, Sleep Research, and the Report of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research. Dr. Emsellem has been named to the Washington, D.C., area’s Consumer’s Checklist of Top Doctors and Washingtonian Magazine’s Top Doctors guide.
Dr. Emsellem has a great love for patient care, teaching and a long-standing interest in Sleep Disorders Medicine. After graduating from the George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine she completed a rotating internship that included Psychiatry, Internal Medicine and Neurology. She was intrigued with the complexity of brain function and decided to pursue a career in Neurology. She completed her Neurology residency training at GWU and sub-specialty training in Epileptology and Clinical Neurophysiology at Johns Hopkins University. She then returned to GWU in an academic career track in the Department of Neurology. Over the ensuing 11 years she enjoyed her role as an academic Neurologist with patient care responsibilities and as the Neurology Residency Training Program Director, Director of the EEG Laboratory and Director of the Neurology medical student teaching program and established the Sleep Laboratory at GW, the second at the time in Washington, DC. Her academic career blossomed and she was promoted to Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology and won student teaching awards. She is a member of the medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha. During her final year at GWU Dr. Emsellem was the Acting Chairman of the Department of Neurology. Today Dr. Emsellem continues to play an active role teaching at GWU in the medical school neurology curriculum, preceptoring Neurology Residents, Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner students who rotate through her office as part of their training, and lecturing nationally on topics in Sleep Medicine.
In 1995, after leaving academia to focus more on direct patient care, Dr. Emsellem established The Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders of Chevy Chase which has grown into a full service, 11-bed sleep disorders center addressing the patient care, research and educational needs of our community. Dr. Emsellem has a passion for running her practice, an endeavor she finds both exciting and challenging. She loves teaching and is a firm believer in managing health through patient education and challenges her patients to be active, knowledgeable participants in their healthcare. She is committed to the advancement of the field of sleep medicine and is actively involved in clinical research in many areas of sleep medicine including excessive daytime sleepiness, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, shift work sleep disorders, insomnia and pediatric and adolescent sleep disorders.
In her leisure time Dr. Emsellem enjoys sailing, skiing and traveling with her husband, David and their three daughters. She is an avid road cyclist and has completed the AIDS bike ride, supporting Food and Friends, biking from Raleigh, North Carolina to Washington, DC as a community service and bonding experience together with her eldest daughter Stella. With colleagues from The Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders and friends she established The Dream Team, riding for fun and exercise and taking on cycling challenges for good causes in the Washington, DC area.
For more detailed information regarding Dr. Emsellem's professional career, please review her complete Curriculum Vitae.