In a move aimed at fostering further growth in clinical practice and patient care, Yale School of Medicine on Monday named Dr. David Leffell ’77, a dermatology and surgery professor and nationally-acclaimed skin care expert, as its deputy dean of clinical affairs.

“Dr. Leffell will help lead the growth of our clinical practice, maintaining it in some ways, but also working to improve it,” School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern said.

Currently, the school’s clinical practice is carried out at both Yale-New Haven Hospital and outpatient facilities. Faculty perform services spanning across all areas of medicine, and are often accompanied by students, interns, and residents training alongside.

“Yale School of Medicine students are involved in the clinic after their first year, often learning at the patient’s bedside,” Leffell explained. “You cannot be a good medical school without a strong clinic.”

In his new role, Leffell will oversee all clinical activity at the School of Medicine, which currently employs 700 full-time professionals delivering specific care to the Yale and New Haven community. He said his primary responsibilities will be the continued delivery of high quality care, the incorporation of research into new clinical practices, and adherence to managed care laws and regulations. In addition to these duties, Leffell will remain director of the Yale Medical Group, a position he has held since 1999.

His chief short-term goal will be the development of what Alpern bills as “group practice,” in which departments within the school that currently offer clinical services separately will be incorporated into single disciplines.

Longer-term goals include continued strides in the national reputation of the School of Medicine, Leffel said.

“We will work to establish the Yale Medical Group and Yale-New Haven as one of the leading medical centers in the country, recognized in the way it combines research and patient care,” he said.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Yale, Leffell received his M.D. from McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 1981. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Cornell, and then finished additional residency training in dermatology at Yale-New Haven Hospital. A practicing clinician, Leffell’s expertise is skin cancer diagnosis and dermatological surgery, and the Cutaneous Oncology Unit that he founded in 1988 now performs over 2,500 specialized surgical procedures annually. He received national attention when his book “Total Skin,” was published in 2000.