Remembrance of Ellen McDaniel, M.D.

Maryland Psychiatrist Spring 2013

Maryland Psychiatry lost an outstanding leader, educator and mentor on January 3rd, 2013 with the death of Ellen McDaniel, the 35th president of the Maryland Psychiatric Society.  Those of us who had the good fortune to know her lost a dear friend and someone who served as an unforgettable role model as a physician and as a person.  Since her January 7th obituary in the Baltimore Sun, many people have spoken to me about the impact Ellen had on their lives.  Some have emphasized her encouragement and support during her ten year term as the Associate Dean for Admissions at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Many are women whom Ellen inspired before and after they had entered medical school.  Others spoke of how effective she was in making psychiatry and psychiatrists more credible through her lectures and the multivolume textbook she edited with George Balis.  She was an unforgettable instructor, supervisor and colleague.  Supervision with Dr. McDaniel was a rich experience filled with insights about our patients, ourselves, and about life: you left wanting to be like her – a more effective psychiatrist and a better person.


Ellen graduated from the University of Michigan’s Medical School, underwent residency training at Ohio State and the University of Maryland, and also graduated from the Baltimore/DC Institute for Psychoanalysis.  She left the University of Maryland in 1992 as a full professor after 22 years on the faculty.  She spent the rest of her career as a distinguished forensic psychiatrist, while also continuing to see patients in a general practice.  She was well-known as a tireless and effective advocate for ending the death penalty in Maryland.  She also served on several professional panels and task forces, including the Governor’s Task Force on Domestic Violence, the Governor’s Task Force on Alternative Sanctions to Incarceration, and the Sexual Offender Advisory Board.  She was also elected president of the Chesapeake Chapter of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.


Dr. McDaniel found time to serve as a board member of the Maryland Ballet, the Roland Park Country Day School, the Lab School of Washington and, more recently, as a founding board member of the Baltimore Lab School.  She traveled throughout the world and enjoyed everything from horse racing to writing short stories.  She was most proud of her husband and of the lives their two children made for themselves.  Ellen led such a rich life while also fighting four cancers for the last 30 years of her life.  She spoke about this only if asked, and then did so with the candor and dignity that typified how she handled her life.


Paul McClelland, M.D.