Sleep Disorders in the Adolescent and Young Adult

Helene A. Emsellem, MD, is the medical director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders. Emsellem has a great love for patient care, teaching, and a long-standing interest in sleep disorders medicine.

A graduate of the George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine, she completed a rotating internship that included psychiatry, internal medicine, and neurology, followed by neurology residency training at GWU and subspecialty training in epileptology and clinical neurophysiology at Johns Hopkins University. She then returned to GWU 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. In 1985, she expanded the EEG laboratory to include a sleep laboratory and became increasingly interested in sleep medicine. She was promoted to associate clinical professor of neurology, received board certifications in clinical neurophysiology, sleep medicine, and neurology, and won student teaching awards. She is a member of the medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha. During her final year at GWU, Emsellem was the acting chairman of the department of neurology. Today she continues to play an active role teaching at GWU, acting as a preceptor for neurology residents and physician assistant students who rotate through her office as part of their training, and lecturing nationally on topics in sleep medicine.

In 1992, Emsellem decided to focus on direct patient care and left her full-time, tenured academic position at GWU and joined a private practice. Three years later, she opened her own practice and sleep study center, The Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders. The Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders has grown into a full-service sleep disorders center addressing patient care, research, and educational needs.

Emsellem lectures around the country on topics in sleep medicine. She is a firm believer in managing health through patient education and challenges her patients to be active, knowledgeable participants in their health care. Recently, she has 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 middle school and high school start times. She remains 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 legs syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, shift work sleep disorders, insomnia, and pediatric sleep disorders.