Allison King, MD, MPH, is dedicated to alleviating health and educational disparities in underserved populations. As a pediatrician and assistant professor in the Division of Hematology & Oncology at the School of Medicine, Allison saw a research need to determine what factors were associated with learning in children who have survived brain tumors, stroke, and Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).
Allison’s compassion has impacted many lives affected by Sickle Cell Disease. She noticed that for many of her young patients, the challenges and frustrations of school impacted them as much as the physical effects of the disease. Allison led many groundbreaking studies, pioneered innovative research to enhance prevention and treatment of SCD, and provided genetic testing and counseling at local health centers. In an early study, she tutored young patients with SCD in schools throughout the community.
In the community, Allison was awarded grants to develop a local support association and regional networks for those with SCD. With Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funding, she is currently creating the Heartland SCD Network to offer providers education and consultation to improve access to health care for those with SCD in a four-state region.
While balancing her clinical, academic, professional and personal responsibilities as a mother of four-year-old twins, she puts the needs of others above all else. It is not unusual for her students to see her spending countless hours calling insurance companies, other doctors, and family members to ensure that each patient receives the best possible care. When obstacles emerge or there is a delay in getting resources to families who need them, Allison makes it her problem to solve. The textbook term for this is being “client-centered,” but to her colleagues it is “being Allison.”
Allison’s commitment to serving her community is unmatched, according to her colleagues Catherine Hoyt Drazen and Ashley Housten, who consider her an outstanding mentor and role model. “Dr. King is devoted to enabling those around her to have the greatest possible chance to participate fully in life. She relentlessly works for the welfare of others, beyond any professor or clinician that we have ever encountered.”