Helene A. Emsellem, MD is a nationally known sleep expert and the mother
of three daughters, Elyssa a high school senior who contributed a teen perspective
to Snooze. . . or Lose!, Monique, a rising senior at Muhlenberg College,
and Stella, a recent Connecticut College graduate. 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
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.