Dr. Allen grew up in New Jersey, upstate New York, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. He graduated from Rice University in 1973 and the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in 1977. He completed internship, residency in Internal Medicine, and Gastroenterology Specialty training at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis). He then spent 10 years on the Academic Faculty in the Department of Medicine in Minnesota attaining the rank of Associate Professor of Medicine while conducting clinical and laboratory research in the fields of alcoholic hepatitis and colon cancer. In 1991 he was recruited to be Associate Director of the Virginia Piper Cancer Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital (Minneapolis) and joined a private gastroenterology practice. From 1991–2013 Dr. Allen helped build this single specialty GI practice into Minnesota Gastroenterology, one of the largest GI practices in the country and helped develop their nationally known Quality Improvement program. He also worked closely with leadership in Allina Health, a large Integrated Delivery System in the Twin Cities. He currently chairs the Quality Committee of Allina Health and is on their Board of Directors. In April 2013, he left community practice to become Clinical Chief of Digestive Diseases and Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, where he remained until June 2016. In September 2016, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Health System (Ann Arbor, Michigan) as a Clinical Professor of Medicine.
In the last decade, Dr. Allen has been in a leadership position with the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). He was selected to chair the Clinical Practice and Quality Management Committee of the AGA and led development of clinical quality measures for gastroenterology. He has written extensively on quality improvement in GI and has chaired or co-chaired task forces that created many of the GI measures currently in Medicare’s Physician Quality Reporting System. He has published and spoken widely about the impact of health care reform on the specialty of gastroenterology and continues to publish about evaluation and management of inherited colon cancer syndromes. From May 2014 until May 2015, he was President of the AGA Institute. He then chaired the AGA from 2015–2016.
Dr. Allen serves on the GI Specialty Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine, was on the United Health Care GI Specialty Board, has been a consultant to several pharmaceutical and medical device companies. He is the current Editor in Chief of GI & Hepatology News (the official newspaper of the AGA Institute) and remains active in local, state, and national medical politics.