Faculty Profiles

Theresa Allison, MD, PhD
MED-GERIATRICS
Associate Professor

4150 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
415-221-4810x5877
Theresa.Allison@ucsf.edu

Theresa A. Allison, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Family & Community Medicine in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics. She completed her medical training and doctoral research in Musicology at the University of Illinois, and trained in residency and fellowship at UCSF. Following completion of a two-year HRSA fellowship in the Division of Geriatrics, she moved to the Jewish Home to develop a new, short-term care rehabilitation unit. She returned full-time to the Division in 2011, where she serves as the medical director of the Home Based Primary Care Program (HBPC) at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. She has recently been awarded T-21 funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to implement a Geriatrics Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE) program at the SFVAMC.


Dr. Allison focuses her efforts on program development and teaching. Her primary clinical focus is on transitions of care, and she leads the HBPC team in their efforts to keep veterans out of emergency rooms, hospitals, and institutions. The GRACE program will similarly extend the reach of the VA clinics and the readmission reduction team by providing in-home Geriatrics assessments and intensive case management for those clinic patients at greatest risk of hospital admission or readmission. She attends on the Acute Care of Elders unit, the Palliative Care Consult Service at the VA, and the Geriatrics Clinic. As part of her work she teaches medical students, residents and fellows, pharmacy residents and nurse practitioner graduate students.


Dr. Allison's research is in the medical humanities. As the only ethnomusicologist on faculty at UCSF, she engages in research within the nursing home, examining the role of music within the lives of institutionalized elders. Her doctoral research involved a two-year, longitudinal, ethnographic analysis of a single site. She is interested in the role of singing in the formation of new communities, and the role of music and relationships in the context of neurodegenerative disease. She is currently a co-investigator in an R-01 involving an RCT of a novel choir intervention in community dwelling elders (P.I. Julene Johnson) and a faculty participant in the UC-wide Multi-site Research Group (MRG) project on voice studies.

Awards and Honors

2011   New Investigator Award, American Geriatrics Society, 2011
2009   Best Poster, Quality of Life Section, American Geriatrics Society, 2009
2001   Ida Halpern Award for Research in Native American Music, Society for Ethnomusicology, 2001
2001   Doctoral Completion Award, P.E.O., 2001
1997   Teachers Ranked Outstanding by their Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997-1999
1994   Teachers Ranked Outstanding by their Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994-1995

Recent Articles (7)

Johnson JK, NĂ¡poles AM, Stewart AL, Max WB, Santoyo-Olsson J, Freyre R, Allison TA, Gregorich SE. Study protocol for a cluster randomized trial of the Community of Voices choir intervention to promote the health and well-being of diverse older adults. BMC Public Health. 2015; 15:1049.

Allison TA, Sudore RL. Disregard of patients' preferences is a medical error: comment on "Failure to engage hospitalized elderly patients and their families in advance care planning". JAMA Intern Med. 2013 May 13; 173(9):787.

Allison TA. Ethnomusicology. Book review: The Culture of AIDS in Africa: Hope and Healing through Music and the Arts. 2013; 57(1):137-141.

Allison TA. Jo Aging, Humanities and the Arts. The nursing home as village: lessons from ethnomusicology. 2010; 4(3):276-91.

Allison TA. Transcending the Limitations of Institutionalized Aging Through Music: Ethnomusicology in the Nursing Home. PhD dissertation. 2010.

Allison TA. The Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology, Koen B, Barz G and Brummel-Smith K, Eds. Songwriting and transcending institutional boundaries in the nursing home. 2008.

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