global view constructed of white lines
Pacific Brain Health's new center
August 9, 2018

Brain Health Center Opens at Pacific Neuroscience Institute

by Zara Jethani

An experienced multidisciplinary brain health team joins Pacific Neuroscience Institute to treat psychiatric and neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, depression and anxiety, and to promote healthy brain aging.

SANTA MONICA, Calif.Aug. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Pacific Neuroscience Institute, a multispecialty practice of 24 physicians and 6 PhD’s working across 9 Centers of Excellence, is pleased to announce the opening of their new Pacific Brain Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

Pacific Brain Health Center
Pacific Brain Health Center, 1301 20th St., Santa Monica, Ca.

To meet the increasing need for comprehensive and holistic care in patients with dementia and associated neurologic disorders, as well as problems of memory loss, depression, and anxiety, PNI has assembled a highly experienced team of specialists in neurology, psychiatry, neuropsychology, and geriatric medicine to lead this new Center.

The team sees patients with a wide range of conditions and their efforts will be focused in 4 major areas:

  • Alzheimer’s dementia and related memory/cognitive disorders
  • Healthy brain aging utilizing nutritional and hormonal approaches, exercise, meditation/mindfulness, and other novel therapies
  • Balance issues and fall prevention
  • Psycho-oncology which is devoted to addressing and treating the anxiety and depression associated with a cancer diagnosis

The team also has diagnostic and treatment paradigms to optimize brain recovery and minimize treatment-related insults in patients with brain tumors, those who have received chemotherapy and brain radiation, as well as patients recovering from stroke, brain hemorrhage and head injury.

Daniel F. Kelly, MD
Daniel F. Kelly, MD

“It’s very exciting to bring on these highly skilled specialists who have such expertise in caring for patients with a wide variety of neurobehavioral conditions,” says Daniel F. Kelly, MD, founder and director of PNI. “There’s an urgent need to find more lasting and integrated therapies for patients with dementia, depression, anxiety and related disorders. Our goal is to offer patients innovative treatments that prevent or reverse neurocognitive decline and ultimately help maximize one’s cognitive capacity and quality of life.”

“Our Brain Health Center nicely complements PNI’s existing Centers of Excellence with many opportunities for collaboration with our Movement Disorders, Pituitary Disorders and Brain Tumor Centers, as well as our Eye, Ear and Skull Base Center, and our colleagues at John Wayne Cancer Institute,” he adds.

David Merrill, MD, PhD
David A. Merrill, MD, PhD

Pacific Brain Health Center director and geriatric psychiatrist, David A. Merrill, MD, PhD, brings compassion and expertise in the psychiatric treatment of middle-aged and older adults.

“With our team approach, we are able to address the body, mind, spirit, and emotions of our patients dealing with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” Dr. Merrill says. “With PBHC’s new comprehensive program, our multidisciplinary model allows patients to see the appropriate specialists for their particular needs. Most of our services are under one roof or within very close proximity of our clinic which is definitely beneficial for these patients.”

Verna R. Porter, MD
Verna R. Porter, MD

Other team members include adult neurologist, Verna Porter, MD, who specializes in the “above the neck” diagnosis and treatment of age-related conditions. She is director of Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and Neurocognitive Disorders Programs.

Neurologist, William G. Buxton, MD, oversees the Falls Prevention Program with particular interest in multifactorial balance assessment and treatment. As the director of Neuromuscular and Neurodiagnostic Medicine, he evaluates and treats a broad array of “below the neck” neurological conditions including neuropathy, myopathy, and myasthenia gravis.

Scott A. Kaiser, MD, a family physician and specialist in geriatric medicine, is director of the Geriatric Cognitive Health Program. He provides consultations within the Pacific Brain Health Center, focused specifically on geriatric issues as they relate to cognitive health.  With this, he takes a “whole person” approach and works to connect patients with a broad range of resources to support their overall health and well being.

Sarah McEwen, PhD, director of Research and Programming is a cognitive psychologist, specializing in the study of physical activity and cognitive enhancement interventions, as well as functional brain imaging. She leads clinical trials and research in dementia and healthy brain aging, creating and implementing dynamic physical and cognitive exercise and training programs for aging populations.

Sarah McEwen, PhD
Sarah McEwen, PhD demonstrating her unique training program

Founder of GeniusGyms, Dr. McEwen notes, “Although there has been a tremendous amount of research, there remains a critical need for treatments to prevent, delay or even cure dementia and related cognitive decline, and evidence-based lifestyle modification and neurocognitive training programs to promote brain recovery and resilience. I’m incredibly optimistic about designing state-of-the-art programs here while contributing to clinical research and development in the fields of dementia, aging, neuro-oncology and human performance.”


Patients can schedule appointments with Pacific Brain Health Center specialists at 310-582-7641 or find out more at

The clinic is located at Saint John’s Medical Plaza, 1301, 20th Street #145, Santa Monica, CA 90404.


Adapted from PR/Newswire release

About the Author

Zara Jethani, MS, MBA

Zara Jethani

is the marketing director at Pacific Neuroscience Institute. Her background is in molecular genetics research and healthcare marketing. In addition, she is a graphic designer with more than 20 years experience in the healthcare, education and entertainment industries.

Last updated: September 18th, 2018