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Charles N. Ellis, M.D.


Charles N. Ellis, M.D.

Charles N. Ellis, MD, is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School, Founder & Director Emeritus of the Department of Service Excellence at Michigan Medicine (University of Michigan Health System), and the Chief Professor Emeritus of Dermatology at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Health System.

Dr. Ellis helped lead the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan (UM) as the Director of the Residency Training Program for 30 consecutive years, and as the Associate Chair for 15 years. Additionally, Dr. Ellis served at UM as the William B. Taylor Professor of Clinical Dermatology.

In 2000, Dr. Ellis initiated the Service Excellence program in the Department of Dermatology. Since then, the Department has continuously ranked number one in patient satisfaction among all departments at the University of Michigan Health System. Subsequently, Dr. Ellis was appointed to develop and direct the Department of Service Excellence for the entire University of Michigan Health System. Dr. Ellis has coached numerous departments and health systems from coast-to-coast on customer service.

Dr. Ellis received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School, receiving the Dean’s Award for Research. Following residency in the University’s Department of Dermatology, he became a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology. He has been named one of the “Best Doctors in America” each year since 1994 and is listed in the “Guide to Top Doctors” and “Guide to America’s Top Physicians”. In 2016, he was designated as an Honored Member of the American Academy of Dermatology.

In the University of Michigan Health System, Dr. Ellis has been recognized as a “doctor’s doctor”. He was chosen as an Inaugural Member of the University of Michigan Medical School’s League of Educational Excellence and listed among the University’s Academy of Medical Educators. He has also been honored with an Award of Appreciation from the University’s medical students.

Dr. Ellis has published more than 280 journal articles and book chapters. A citation analysis found him to be among the dozen most-referenced dermatologists in the world, reflecting the importance of his published papers in both dermatology and high-impact general medical journals. For his papers published in high-impact general medical journals, he is the third-most cited first-author-- with two of his papers having been cited over 200 times each.

Dr. Ellis was among the first to use and publish on oral retinoid therapy of psoriasis, oral and topical retinoid therapy of lichen planus, and topical retinoid treatment of photoaged skin. His publications demonstrating that ultraviolet damage to skin could be reversed were pivotal in the development of a wide range of therapies for aging skin, both medical and with devices such as lasers. Later, Dr. Ellis was the principal author in JAMA on the use of oral cyclosporine for psoriasis with the first double-blind study, and followed this with a more detailed report in the New England Journal of Medicine. This work transformed the entire therapeutic approach to psoriasis and was key to the revolution in developing immunologic treatments of psoriasis and other dermatologic disorders. His work also characterized the immune therapy approach to numerous conditions such as atopic dermatitis, alopecia areata, lichen planus, pyoderma gangrenosum, and vitiligo. In 2001 in the New England Journal of Medicine, he was the principal author of the first study of a biologic for treating psoriasis.

Dr. Ellis has led experiments on the nuclear receptor PPAR, which may yet result in new therapies in dermatology. He has published on health economics in dermatology, including cost-effectiveness and outcomes. Among his inventions in dermatology is a method for evaluating psoriasis called the Lattice System Physicians Global Assessment. Dr. Ellis has received the University of Michigan H. R. Johnson Award for Leadership in Diversity, and the Director’s Award at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Health System. He has held a number of visiting professorships, served on the editorial boards of various journals, and is a member of numerous professional organizations.