Executive Medical Director and Chairman of the Board, Southern California Permanente Medical Group

Dr. Edward M. Ellison is executive medical director and chairman of the board for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, with accountability for all aspects of care, strategy, and performance for the physician-led medical care delivery system for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. He also serves as chairman of the board for Georgia’s Southeast Permanente Medical Group and as co-chief executive officer of The Permanente Federation, the consortium of all eight Permanente Medical Groups, providing leadership and strategic direction to more than 22,000 Permanente physicians across the country.


If you could go back in time and give yourself advice as a new doctor, what would you say?

As you learn to care for others, learn to care for yourself, whatever that means to you. Learn what brings you joy and resilience, and make sure you give yourself time to rejuvenate and revitalize your soul. Being a physician requires an enormous amount of both head and heart. To be at your best in caring for others, you’ve got to take care of yourself: socially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

If you could change one thing about healthcare, what would it be?

To truly deliver high-quality, affordable, accessible, and compassionate healthcare, in a way that supports the wellness of the people providing that care, much as we aspire to do at Kaiser Permanente.

What’s the first item on your bucket list?

I would love to write the Great American Novel. Like most people who note this on their list, I believe I have a compelling story to tell, but with so many things to accomplish in the next few years at Kaiser Permanente, the writing will have to wait at least until we launch the School of Medicine. Stay tuned!

What life experience has taught or changed you the most?

Being a husband and a father. All the things you think you know leading up to fulfilling these roles really don’t prepare you for the experience, and the need to be present and authentic to nurture and honor these relationships. I believe that the time, care, and energy spent focused on these special relationships are key to providing resilience in one’s life. There are no relationships as challenging, profound, or rewarding.

A headshot of Edward M. Ellison, MD