Elissa Gilbert Miller, MD

Palliative Care

Primary Office

Nemours Children's Hospital, Delaware Nemours Children's Hospital, Delaware 1600 Rockland Road Wilmington, DE 19803 Appointment: (800) 416-4441

Other Offices

Get to Know Me

Dr. Elissa Miller is division chief of palliative medicine. She’s also clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, Thomas Jefferson University; fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics; member, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine; and an invited lecturer and author of medical journal articles.

Why I Treat Children

I always knew I wanted to be a doctor who works with children. When I was young, I had some family members who were sick. When the doctors talked to us about it, they always asked me if I had any questions even though I was a child. That made quite an impression on me, and I ended up wanting to give back — and to make sure that I communicated directly with all of my patients' family members, including children.During my medical training, I was drawn to physicians who really talked with patients and their families. It turns out they were all in palliative care. I learned it was a great field if I enjoyed taking the time to discuss the families' needs and goals.Kids are awesome. Even when they are sick, they smile. They're so resilient and have so much life in them, and just want to go back to being kids. I do all I can to help them have the best quality of life possible, and to improve their pain and symptom management.I like connecting with children and their families. I feel it's my job to help them get through what is often the most difficult time in their lives.

What I'm Passionate About

I'm passionate about trust. For me the most important thing is establishing a mutually trusting relationship with each patient and family. I trust them, and they trust me to manage all the parts of their care. This same level of trust has to exist with all the members of my team to truly make a difference.I help dispel fears that families may have about palliative care and to educate them about what we do and what palliative care is. Since it's kind of a new field, I often have to introduce them to the very idea of palliative care, or dispel myths and misconceptions about it.I'm pretty passionate about my field. It's a relatively new, exciting area of medicine. In fact, the oldest pediatric palliative care program in the country is only 15 years old, so my colleagues and I are really in on the ground floor and helping establish the standards. I also like that there's a lot of science — and a lot of actual medical practice — in palliative care.

How I Try to Make A Difference

I treat every patient and family individually, because every patient and family is unique. We tailor the care we deliver to the needs of each child. I firmly believe that one size does not fit all.As palliative care physicians, we work side-by-side with social workers, nurses and pastoral caregivers — so much so, in fact, we often take on some of the others' roles. This provides richer, interdisciplinary care to each of our patients, especially when one member of the team can't be present — such as at a home visit for our sickest patients. These home visits are another way our palliative care team is different from many other specialties and makes a difference for our patients. We’re able to go to our patients who are too sick to come to the hospital, or for whom it would cause more harm than good to come in. It’s all about quality of life.I also educate clinicians in other disciplines and young physicians studying palliative care. As director of the palliative care fellowship program, I help them to become the best that they can be. Their presence adds value to our team as well — having physicians to instruct keeps us constantly improving.

Education & Training


  • Hospice and Palliative Care - The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 2011

Internship Residency

  • Pediatrics - The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 2009

Medical/Dental School

  • MD - University of Rochester, 2006

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pediatrics/Hospice & Palliative Medicine
  • American Board of Pediatrics/General Pediatrics

Awards & Recognition

  • 2014 Delaware Today magazine, Top Doctors
  • 2013 Faculty Educator of the Month, Nemours/AIDHC Pediatric Residency
  • 2013 Top 40 Under 40, Philadelphia Business Journal
  • 2011 Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics
  • 2009 Resident Clinician of the Year, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • 2006 Bryce Collier Prize for Compassion in Medicine, University of Rochester
  • 2006 Gold Humanism Honor Society, University of Rochester
  • 2005 Alpha Omega Alpha, University of Rochester
  • 2004 Fellowship in Medical Humanities, University of Rochester
  • 2003 International Health Award, University of Rochester

Insurance Accepted

  • Aetna Better Health PA Kids HMO
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna PPO/EPO/POS
  • Aetna PPO/POS/EPO
  • Amerihealth Caritas Delaware
  • Amerihealth Caritas Delaware NJ
  • Cigna & Great West HMO/POS/EPO
  • Cigna & Great West PPO
  • Cigna Lifesource Transplant
  • Cigna/Great West HMO EPO POS
  • Cigna/Great West PPO
  • Delaware First Health
  • Delaware Medicaid/Diamond State
  • Delaware Medicare
  • Devon Health Services
  • Fidelis Care NJ Medicaid HMO
  • First Health PPO
  • First Health/Affordable PPO
  • Geisinger Health Plan Commercial
  • Global Medical Managment DE/PA
  • Global Medical Mangment NJ
  • Health Partners Medicaid/Kidz Partner HMO
  • Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware
  • Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Pennsylvania
  • Highmark Medicaid Health Options
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • Independance Blue Cross/Amerihealth/Keystone Health Plan
  • Insurance Administrators of America
  • INTEGRA Administrative Group (ClaimsBridge)
  • Keystone First Medicaid HMO
  • Lifetrac Transplant
  • Maryland Medicaid
  • Multiplan PPO
  • National Transplant (Humana)
  • New Jersey Medicaid
  • Pennsylvania Medicaid
  • Plan Vista/NPPN PPO
  • Preferred Healthcare PPO
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS)
  • Qualcare HMO/POS/PPO
  • Star Healthcare Network
  • Three Rivers Provider Network
  • Tricare/Humana Military Health Services/CHAMPVA
  • United Healthcare of the Mid-Atlantic
  • UPMC Medicaid
  • US Family Health Plan
  • Wellpoint Maryland Medcaid

Research Activities

Currently we are taking a look at the place of telemedicine (the use of telecommunication and information technologies to deliver health care at a distance, helping eliminate distance barriers and improving access to medical services) in pediatric palliative care. The goal is to improve pain and symptom management in the home setting and improve patient satisfaction with their caregivers.

We are also looking at the best ways to approach advanced care planning for pediatric inpatients; resource utilization in palliative care; and pain and symptom management in palliative care.

Medical Interests

  • Care of children with life threatening conditions
  • Care of children with terminal illness
  • Pain and symptom management

  • The Landscape of Outpatient Pediatric Palliative Care: A National Cross-Sectional Assessment; Journal of Pain and Symptom Management; (2023).

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  • Lessons Learned: Identifying Items Felt to Be Critical to Leading a Pediatric Palliative Care Program in the Current Era of Program Development; Journal of Palliative Medicine; (2021).

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  • A Complicated Case of Vaccine Refusal; Pediatrics; (2020).

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  • Pediatric Palliative Care; Unknown Source; (2020).

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  • Palliative Care for Individuals with Cerebral Palsy; Cerebral Palsy; (2020).

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  • Palliative Care for Individuals with Cerebral Palsy; Cerebral Palsy: Second Edition; (2020).

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  • Bereavement Accommodations in the Classroom: Experiences and Opinions of School Staff; Journal of School Health; (2020).

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  • A Call to Restore Your Calling: Self-Care of the Emergency Physician in the Face of Life-Changing Stress - Part 4 of 6: Physician Helplessness and Moral Injury; Pediatric Emergency Care; (2019).

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  • Denying renal transplantation to an adolescent medical cannabis user: An ethical case study; Pediatric Transplantation; (2019).

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  • A Call to Restore Your Calling: Self-care of the Emergency Physician in the Face of Life-Changing Stress-Part 1 of 6; Pediatric Emergency Care; (2019).

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  • Dyskeratosis Congenita and Oral Cavity Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Report of a Case and Literature Review; Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; (2019).

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  • Palliative sedation with oral medicines in an infant with generalized severe junctional epidermolysis bullosa; Journal of Palliative Medicine; (2018).

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  • Palliation in pediatric otorhinolaryngology; International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology; (2018).

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  • Retrospective review of limitations of care for inpatients at a free-standing, tertiary care children’s hospital; Children; (2018).

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  • Let's Work Together: Collaborative Research Is Needed to Overcome Difficulty Enrolling Families for Bereaved Sibling Research; Journal of Pain and Symptom Management; (2018).

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  • Use of Telehealth in Pediatric Palliative Care; Telemedicine and e-Health; (2017).

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  • Pediatric palliative care: Current evidence and evidence gaps; Journal of Pediatrics; (2015).

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  • Recent experience establishing a new pediatric palliative care team; Journal of Pediatrics; (2015).

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  • Referrals to a new pediatric palliative care team: Details of the first 12 months of operation; Journal of Palliative Medicine; (2014).

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  • Cerebral palsy patients discovered dead during sleep: Experience from a comprehensive tertiary pediatric center; Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine; (2013).

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  • Concurrent care for the medically; Journal of Palliative Medicine; (2012).

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