Who's Who of Professional Women


Ellen Killebrew

Inspired to a career in medicine after the care she received when she was sick with gastritis at 13, Ellen Jane Killebrew, MD, has now cultivated considerable expertise in the field of electrocardiography. She first earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Bucknell University in 1959 before achieving her Doctor of Medicine from the New Jersey College of Medicine, now the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, in 1965. Subsequently, she completed an internship and residency at the University of Colorado between 1965 and 1968 and a cardiology fellowship at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco from 1968 to 1970.

Dr. Killebrew began her career as the director of coronary care for the Permanente Medical Group in Richmond, California, from 1970 to 1983 and joined the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco in 1973 as an assistant professor. During this time, she furthered her studies by taking coronary care courses at Contra Costa College between 1973 and 1976 and became a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, from which she received certification in internal medicine in 1978 and cardiovascular diseases in 1982. In 1983, Dr. Killebrew rose to associate professor at the University of California Medical Center and she became a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco in 1992, a position she remains in to this day.

Alongside her teaching, Dr. Killebrew served on the admissions panels for the University of California San Francisco and the joint medical program for UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley from 1998 to 2016. From 1985 to 2016, she also spent time as a mentor to medical students at UC Berkeley. Very active with the American Heart Association as well, she sat on their research committee from 1976 to 1978, was the research chair for the Contra Costa chapter from 1975 to 1985, and has been the president of the East Bay chapter from since 1995. Other professional endeavors of hers include involvement with the Medical Board of California from 1999 to 2002 and time spent as an expert medical reviewer with the California Medical Branch in 1999.

A well-regarded author in her field, Dr. Killebrew has contributed numerous articles to professional journals. Of particular note are the papers “The Increased Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Associated with Nephrotic Syndrome” and “Regional Myocardial Dysfunction: Evaluation of Patients with Prior Myocardial Infarction with Fast CT,” both of which she co-authored, as well as “Evaluation of Regional Ventricular Wall Motion by ECG-Gated CT,” of which she was the sole author. In 1991, she co-authored a chapter in the book “Difficult Diagnosis 2.”

Incredibly proud of the time she spent with the American Heart Association, Dr. Killebrew has also been lauded throughout the years for her achievements. In 2014, she received a special recognition for outstanding contributions on the clinical faculty from UC San Francisco and had previously received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from the Permanente Medical Group in 2010 as well as the Lowell Beal Award in 1992. She had also received a commendation from the California State Assembly for her contributions to women and heart disease in 2005. For her excellence, Dr. Killebrew has been elected as a fellow of the American College of Physicians and considers the most gratifying parts of her career to be that she still loves her work after all these years and continually getting to see new patients.

Born in Tiffin, Ohio, to father Joseph Arthur Killebrew and mother Stephanie Beriont, Dr. Killebrew spent many happy years married to her late husband, Edward S. Graves. Her family also includes her sister, Pamela; her nephew, Devon Olson; and her cat. In her free time, Dr. Killebrew enjoys a variety of activities that keep her active, including equitation, skiing, sailing and boating, hiking, scuba diving, water skiing, and swimming. She also loves spending time with horses, dogs, and her cat.


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