Geriatrics Spotlight 

Every week, we feature one of our talented faculty, staff, or trainees.

Theresa Allison
Theresa Allison, MD, PhD

Theresa [email protected]
Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics, Professor of Family & Community Medicine at UCSF; Medical Consultant, Home Based Primary Care SFVAHCS
Twitter: @gerimuse

What is your role in the division?
After a career as a clinical program builder, Theresa transitioned back to research last year. She likes to refer to herself as the most senior junior researcher in the Division. Her research investigates the role of music in the context of dementia caregiving relationships. It brings together her graduate training in music anthropology and her clinical work as a geriatrician who makes house calls. She aspires to being one of the qualitative methods experts in the division.

What’s one “fun fact” about you that not many people know? (i.e. hidden talent)
The first program she co-founded was a women’s acapella singing group at the University of Illinois, the Rip Chords. They are still around, although the singers are now younger than her own daughter. Check them out at

What’s your favorite aspect of your role at UCSF and why?
“Nerding out about music and humanities theory as it pertains to older adults, because how cool is that?”

Best advice you’ve received?
A senior researcher once said that “careers are long, but children are small for only a short while.” This pertains to more than childrearing. It is important to remember that we can’t do everything all the time. It’s ok to have some years that are focused on research, others on family, and others on clinical work.

If you had to choose an alternate career, what would you do?
Theresa always wanted to play third flute/piccolo in a film studio orchestra, because the only thing more fun than nerding out about music is sight-reading film scores and playing pit orchestra in musical theater.

Krista Harrison
Krista Harrison, PhD
[email protected]
Assistant Prof of Medicine, Associate Director of Analytic Research Operations in Geriatrics
Twitter: @klharrisonPhD

What is your role in the division?
As the only other PhD research faculty aside from John Boscardin, Krista functions as a methods and content expert within the division. Krista’s research uses qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate needs and systems of care for older adults with dementia and other serious illnesses, including home-based care and hospice. As Associate Director of Analytic Research Operations and as a member of Innovation and Implementation Center for Aging and Palliative Care (I-CAP), she puts her penchant for organization and measurement to use on behalf of the Division and consults on clinical demonstration, quality improvement and research initiatives led by others. Krista also serves as bridge to other UCSF communities including the Global Brain Health Institute and Institute for Health Policy Studies.

What’s one “fun fact” about you that not many people know? (i.e. hidden talent)
Once upon a time Krista trained as a singer (check her out on this GeriPal Podcast), ran the 100 meter hurdles, thru-hiked 400 miles of the Appalachian trail and 200 miles of the John Muir Trail. Now she lives on a houseboat in Sausalito with her family (including 6 bicycles) and hikes the Marin headlands for fun.

What’s your favorite aspect of your role at UCSF and why?
“Mentoring and advising. I get to pass along the great advice I have received thus far as well as pass along the ways that I “failed up” in my career. Plus my dad was a high school teacher for 35 years and I can’t help but use the “teacher voice” I inherited from him."

Best advice you’ve received?
Work with people you truly like and admire. Also, try again – a large percentage of success is persistence.

If you had to choose an alternate career, what would you do?
Krista would be a master carpenter. She built the ladder bookshelf in her house and she & her spouse built a 200lb slab walnut dining room table for the first thanksgiving they ever hosted.



Our mission is to improve the care of older patients locally and nationally through outstanding teaching and design of innovative curricula. We train physicians and other health professionals from first year students to seasoned clinicians in settings ranging from classroom to clinic and hospital to home.

Patient Care

We are specialists who provide person-centered medical care that reaches older persons where ever they need it--in hospitals, clinics or in their homes. Dignity, independence and choice are the focus of every healthcare decision.


Our research is grounded in a deep respect for older persons, and a commitment to improving their health, well-being, and quality of life. Our commitment extends to all older persons across the spectrum of the aging experience.


The Division of Geriatrics fosters healthcare transformation by finding new ways to improve the health of older persons.


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