Elmer G. Ellis

2023 Legends Award Winner

Elmer G. Ellis

Given Posthumously

Elmer Ellis was the former longtime president/CEO of East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System. Ellis retired in 2018 after 50 years of leadership with Tyler-based ETMC. The hospital was part of the merger that created UT Health East Texas.

Ellis worked four years at St. Joseph Hospital in Paris before moving to Tyler in 1968 and assumed the role of assistant administrator of what was then known as Medical Center Hospital. He became the president/CEO in 1985, a move that launched ETMC’s rise into a multi-hospital health network serving East Texas. Ellis was a pioneer in exploring the possibilities of aligning with smaller communities to extend care into the region by developing a regional network of facilities and services with a goal of providing a continuum of care for East Texans.

Under Ellis’ leadership, ETMC Tyler was designated as a Level I Trauma Center and its centers of excellence broadened to include advanced specialties in cardiology, cancer, neurology, movement disorders, behavioral health and kidney transplantation. Ellis also oversaw the development of East Texas Medical Center EMS into one of the largest not-for-profit providers of ambulance services in the region. In 2011, as requested through a charitable gift from The Robert M. Rogers Foundation, the emergency department at ETMC Tyler was named the Elmer G. Ellis Trauma Center.

He was a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a past chairman of the Texas Hospital Association. He was honored with THA’s Earl M. Collier Award for Distinguished Health Care Administration in 2006. Other honors include induction in the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame and recognition from the Boy Scouts of America with the Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award. Over the years, he served on boards of many agencies.

As chairman of THA, Ellis was a tireless advocate for rural health care and Texas hospitals. He always emphasized a patient-focused philosophy and led THA through a critical time of change and innovation. He was an exceptional chairman who always made grassroots advocacy a priority.

THA Legends Award

The THA Legends Award is a special award of merit given to leaders who went above and beyond the call of duty for hospitals, patients and the health care industry throughout their careers. Honorees are retired hospital or health care system CEOs who served in Texas and have made significant contributions to THA and to the health care industry. Past recipients include Doug Hawthorne (2021), Michael C. Waters (2017) and Larry Mathis (2016).