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Dr. Ellis awarded Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Caroline Ellis, Lauren Keplinger, Deanna Ellis and Anderson Ellis pose with Dr. David Ellis and his Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Caroline Ellis, Lauren Keplinger, Deanna Ellis and Anderson Ellis pose with Dr. David Ellis and his Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

David Ellis, who retired on Dec. 31 as Chief Medical Officer for Pardee UNC Health Care, was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine at a private ceremony with family and close friends on Wednesday, April 20.

The highest award for state service granted by the Office of the Governor, the award honors those with more than 30 years of service to North Carolina and who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.

Ellis and his wife, Deanna, moved their family to Hendersonville in 1987 where he spent his three-decade career as a practicing OB/GYN physician. Thousands of families placed their trust in Dr. Ellis’ care and expertise, which he has described as a privilege. Ellis was named Pardee’s Chief Medical Officer in 2014 and retired in December 2021. In this role, he provided operational oversight of multiple departments and coordinated the medical staff activities of the hospital, championing clinical pathways and ensuring that the viewpoints of all physicians were presented and considered as a part of hospital strategic decisions.
Ellis’ focus on clinical excellence led Pardee to significant achievements that included physician practice expansion, receiving the national distinction of an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade from the Leapfrog Group, and becoming one of only two hospitals in western North Carolina to achieve designation as a PCI Capable Hospital. Under Ellis’ sound leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pardee did not experience any serious safety events or exposures and was the first in western North Carolina to administer COVID-19 vaccines and provide monoclonal antibody treatments.
Ellis’s son, Anderson Ellis, read a speech and presented the award to his father, highlighting other notable Long Leaf Pine inductees in his remarks. Ellis joins the ranks of Maya Angelou, Dale Earnhardt, Michael Jordan, Dean Smith and even honorary member Oprah Winfrey. Ellis was completely surprised and honored with this award, noting that it was indeed a highlight of his career and quite a special way to enter retirement.
“I can think of no other recognition more appropriate for Dr. Ellis’ contributions to our community than the Order of the Longleaf Pine,” said Jay Kirby, President and CEO of Pardee UNC Health Care. “We are delighted for him and congratulate him on this outstanding honor.”