Melanie Ellis named PA program director

May 21, 2024

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Melanie “MJ” Ellis, MPAS, PA-C, has been named the director for the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Arizona College of Health Sciences, effective May 13.

A woman wearing a green jacket smiles in front of a digital artwork indoors.

Melanie “MJ” Ellis, MPAS, PA-C

Photo by Kris Hanning, UArizona Health Sciences Office of Communications

Ellis is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where she led the Interservice Physician Assistant Program as director from 2020-2023. She was also a consultant to the Air Force surgeon general on PA specialties for the Air Force and Space Force from 2020-2023.

Ellis had a 36-year career in the Air Force, where she practiced primary care medicine as a physician assistant. She was also the commander of the Medical Operations Squadron at Misawa Air Base in Japan, the chief of medical operations and plans for Allied Command Operations with the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium, and the chief of an international health specialist team while stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Ellis retired from the Air Force in 2023 as a colonel.

Some of you may already be familiar with Ellis, as she has been with the College of Health Sciences’ PA program since August as the director of didactic education and a clinical instructor. She will be leading the development of the PA program for the college, which is scheduled for accreditation review in March 2026. The program plans to begin educating its first class in August 2026.

Before joining the University of Arizona, Ellis was the director of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Interservice Physician Assistant Program in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In 2023, she received the Order of Military Medical Merit award.

In her short time in Tucson, Ellis has chaired the Physician Assistant Program’s leadership committee and has been a member of the curriculum, admissions, accreditation and clinical committees.

We are excited to have Ellis in this new leadership position. She has a long history of leadership and outreach within the Air Force, and we are confident she is the right person to build the College of Health Sciences’ Physician Assistant Program and help improve health-care access and outcomes in primary care and rural health settings in Arizona and beyond.

Please join me in congratulating MJ on her new role at the University of Arizona Health Sciences!

Michael D. Dake, MD
Senior Vice President for University of Arizona Health Sciences