Matthew S. Ellman, M.D., associate professor of medicine (general medicine) and director of Yale Internal Medicine Associates, is the 2017 recipient of the David J. Leffell Prize for Clinical Excellence. The prize, established by David J. Leffell, M.D., David P. Smith Professor of Dermatology and professor of surgery (otolaryngology and plastic), and his wife, Cindy, is awarded each year to “an individual who best demonstrates the highest level of clinical expertise, commitment to teaching, and the highest standards of care and compassion for patients.” Robert J. Alpern, M.D., dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine, presented the award.

In accepting the prize on June 26, Ellman emphasized his passion for primary care medicine, which, he says, gives him “the gift and honor of knowing people over a lifetime, and the ability to partner with them to make life as good as it can be and to help those nearing the end of their life to make that transition.” Adds Ellman, “Primary care gives me the opportunity to use my mind in concert with my heart.”

In addition to his work as a clinician, Ellman is a scholar and educator in the area of palliative and end-of-life care, in which he first developed a strong interest during the 1980s while a resident at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, when the AIDS epidemic was at its peak and no effective treatments were available.

Ellman earned his M.D. degree at Harvard Medical School and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale.