Member of the Week: Dr. Rich Allen

Practice: I have been faculty at St. Mark’s FM residency for 17 years, including a 10-year stint as Program Director. I’m also the medical director of LifeCare post-acute and long-term care facility, and I have a side gig as a hospice medical director.

Residency: Quincy, Illinois. We were so lucky to live in the midwest for three years. We loved it! While there, I found out that some of my ancestors were from Quincy, in fact my great-something-grandpa was the sheriff of Quincy in 1840. In my residency we were in the ER and on hospital call every 4th night our entire first year– long before the 80-hour work week rule. I got a lot of ER experience, and also rural medicine and OB preparation.

Any additional training or fellowships? After three years of rural practice, I felt like it just wasn’t my thing. I went back to school for an MPH in quantitative methods, and changed course into teaching and some research. Ten years later I also grandfathered into Hospice and Palliative Care certification.

A bit about Dr. Allen: I was born and raised in SLC and went to Highland High School. I’ve forever been humbled and grateful for a scholarship to the U of U, and graduated in creative writing in 1992, followed by med school there. I was a missionary in Taiwan, and met my Canadian wife there (she was the nurse who gave me my gamma-globulin shots). We have six daughters, soon to add our 4th son-in-law, and recently had our first grandchild. I dabble as a handy-man and recently remodeled the basement while paying a professional way too much to remodel the main floor. I love to travel and have visited 5 continents (I’m writing this blurb from Germany), and also spend a lot of time in St. George and Midway.

What keeps you passionate about family medicine? Variety. I’ve been blessed to pursue a wide breadth of experiences in family medicine. I sometimes imagine being stuck as an ENT or urologist or general surgeon, doing essentially the same 5 procedures over and over again. My very first night as a doctor I did an intubation, cardiocentesis, 8-inch scalp laceration, and casted a wrist fracture. I’ve delivered babies, done surgical assist, EGD/colonoscopy, colpo, circ, and ECG. I’ve published research and medical essays. I’ve had the privilege of listening to several patients’ final heart beat. I do home visits. There’s so much to do in family medicine!

What do you wish you’d known when graduating from med school? I knew this superficially, but it became very real in a hurry: doctors have different practice styles, ideas, personalities, interpretation of evidence, and attitudes. Your practice partners might be super nice neighbors, but in a Board meeting they can be ruthless and difficult.

Where will we find you on your day off? I ski 15-20 days a season, and golf twice that much. I love to hike, or “speed climb” as my family calls it.

What are you…
reading right now: Star of the North by D.B. John. I’m always looking for a good spy novel to replace the Gabriel Allon series I’ve read twice, but alas nothing can touch Silva.

watching right now: Wallander

listening to right now: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (renewing some of my college favorites)