Medical school mourns loss of psychiatry chair, professor

Dr. Harold “Hal” Elliott, chair of psychiatry for the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, died unexpectedly at his home in Fuquay-Varina on June 7. He was 58. 

Elliott joined Campbell University in 2017 after serving as psychiatry residency program director at Michigan State University and before that, East Tennessee State University. A native of Clover, South Carolina, Elliott earned his undergraduate degree from Davidson College and his MD from the Medical University of South Carolina School of Medicine. 

Dr. Brian Kessler, dean of the medical school at Campbell University, said Elliott made a big impact at Campbell in his five years with the school. 

“Students and the University community will sadly miss Dr. Elliott,” Kessler said. “He was instrumental in the health and well-being of many of our students and his patients. Dr. Elliott was a compassionate physician, integral in the teachings at the medical school, with always the student’s best interest at heart.”

Over the years, he received several accolades for his work, particularly as a teacher of residents. As a resident at UNC-Chapel Hill, he was selected by his faculty and peers as the Diane Eklund Outstanding Resident in Psychiatry. At Wake Forest, he received the Loretta Y. Silvia Teaching Award (2007) and the American Psychiatric Association Irma Bland, MD Certificate of Excellence in Teaching Residents (2009). At East Tennessee State, he was elected by residents to receive the Resident’s Above the Call of Duty Award (2015).

Elliott’s clinical interests included anxiety disorders, treatment resistant depression, PTSD, student health, psychiatry in primary care and adult ADHD. He lectured and published articles and chapters on adult ADHD, accommodations for residents and Students with LD and ADHD, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (among others).

Elliott was a lifelton fan of college basketball and a huge fan of the UNC Tarheels and Davidson Wildcats. He was known to schedule his vacation time around March Madness, just to binge-watch the games with his wife and kids.

He will be remembered for his warm and empathetic manner, which often contrasted with a wicked, dark sense of humor and a sense of the absurd. Elliott was a gifted storyteller who could entertain a crowd once you got him going. This was a skill he brought frequently to his practice and to his teaching. 

He was married to Lisa Boheler Elliott for 37 years, but their relationship went back to the ninth grade, when they began dating. They were married in 1985 and raised four children together: Walker (Jasmine), Davis, Jackson and Julia.