John Allen, Pharm.D., a clinical assistant professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research, has been named the University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s first associate dean for diversity, inclusion and health equity.
Allen joined the UF College of Pharmacy in 2018 and is a board-certified critical care pharmacist and pharmacotherapy specialist. He has earned multiple national distinctions, including multiple Presidential Citations from the Society of Critical Care Medicine and fellow status with the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the American College of Critical Care Medicine. He assumes a leadership role where he will serve as a key member of the dean’s executive team with oversight for all diversity, inclusion and health equity activities.
Allen will work to create an environment that values and demonstrates a commitment to diversity, inclusion and health equity through teaching, scholarship and the broad engagement of students, faculty and staff. He will also execute the college’s strategic plan goals focused on diversity and inclusion and serve as the liaison with similar offices in UF Health’s academic colleges and the university. The plan is expected to create and sustain a vibrant learning and working environment that is welcoming and supportive of all, and strives to eradicate equity gaps in student participation and achievement.
“I’m excited for Dr. Allen to join the college’s executive leadership team,” said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor. “He brings a strong vision of advancing diversity, inclusion and health equity and a personal experience that will help ensure success. I’m very confident the college will soon become a national leader in this space, under Dr. Allen’s capable guidance.”
The son of a Filipino mother and a Black father, Allen grew up in a predominantly Black neighborhood in west Philadelphia. As a teenager, he began recognizing the inequities his neighbors experienced in accessing quality health care.
“We live in a world where a person’s ZIP code is often the best predictor of one’s health,” Allen said. “In the neighborhood where I grew up, the median life expectancy is ten years less than residents in a more affluent neighborhood just two miles away.” His childhood experiences motivated him to pursue a career in pharmacy, where he could inspire change and deliver health care to the medically underserved.
Allen earned his Pharm.D. from Florida A&M University and completed PGY-1 and PGY-2 residencies at Tampa General Hospital. He has held several academic and administrative positions, including serving as a clinical pharmacy specialist, a pharmacy residency program director, and a division director of infectious diseases pharmacy for a 16-hospital system. As associate dean for diversity, inclusion and health equity, Allen will draw upon his personal and professional experiences in creating an inclusive culture, while also open to further understanding and growth.
“It’s important that we establish a sense of belonging for everyone associated with the UF College of Pharmacy,” Allen said. “I’m committed to learning about experiences outside my own to better understand and further develop an inclusive environment for everyone.”
Honoring and building upon the work already undertaken within the college, Allen has identified multiple priorities to accomplish in the new role. Among them are the recruitment and retention of a culturally diverse student body, as well as faculty and staff. He also wants to develop culturally intelligent pharmacy professionals by establishing training programs to help Pharm.D. students better understand social determinants of health and pursue a research program to investigate health inequities. He’ll work collaboratively across UF and UF Health to expand and extend the values of diversity, inclusion and health equity through teaching, research and the delivery of patient care.
“My ask of the college is that everyone continues to remain engaged,” Allen said. “2020 has uncovered inequities across many sectors of society, and there has been a lot of energy focused on diversity, inclusion and health equities efforts. Now is a time that calls for us to be a leader in diversity, inclusion and health equity excellence. I need everyone’s help more than ever to achieve this goal.”
Allen will officially start as associate dean for diversity, inclusion and health equity Jan. 1.