Ellen G. Garrison, PhD

APA's Senior Policy Advisor

Ellen G. Garrison, PhDEllen G. Garrison, PhD, is the senior policy advisor to APA's chief executive officer. Garrison, a licensed clinical psychologist, facilitates the CEO's involvement in policy issues, government relations and interorganizational affairs. She coordinates policy initiatives and serves as the APA point person on policy matters.

Before attaining this post in 2006, Garrison spent eight years as APA's associate executive director for public interest policy. She was actively involved in the development of federal policy initiatives pertaining to special populations (e.g., children and ethnic minorities) and social/health issues (e.g., HIV/AIDS and media violence), all while acting as co-director of the APA Congressional Fellowship Program. She previously served as a consultant to APA on federal policy matters, after having held several senior policy positions at the association in the mid 1980s.
Garrison first acquired direct policy experience as a Congressional Science Fellow, and subsequently as a professional staff member on the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and as co-staff director of the Senate Children's Caucus. From 1996 through 1998, she served as a program development consultant for the Center for School Mental Health, a federally funded national technical assistance center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

In 1990, Garrison created the AMIGO program of the Child Center and Adult Services, Inc., a local private, nonprofit mental health agency. Under her direction, the AMIGO program provided mental health and related services to more than 1,000 Latino and other at-risk children and their families in 14 elementary schools in Montgomery County, Md., over a seven-year period. She was also the founding director of the county's Child and Adolescent Service System Program in 1988, which was designed to coordinate and improve community-based services for emotionally disturbed children and youth and their families.


Garrison received her doctorate in psychology with a minor in law from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her bachelor's degree in psychology from Northwestern University.