Theresa Allison, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine

Theresa A. Allison, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics, with a secondary appointment in Family and Community Medicine. She completed both her MD and PhD (Musicology) through the University of Illinois Medical Scholars Program. She completed family practice residency and geriatric fellowship training at UCSF. Dr. Allison’s research sits at the intersection of music, well-being, dementia and relationships, bridging the medical humanities and health sciences. Her research areas include the potential for music to improve quality of life in diverse dementia caregiving relationships in the home and nursing home; and the perceived health benefits of group singing. She provides geriatrics clinical care in the San Francisco VA Health Care System.
2018 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training, University of California
Ph.D., 2010 - Musicology, University of Illinois
2006 - Geriatric Medicine, University of California
2005 - Family and Community Medicine, University of California
M.D., 2002 - Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
Honors and Awards
  • Teacher of the Year, UCSF Division of Geriatrics, 2016
  • Special Contribution Award, Department of Veterans Affairs, 2013
  • Superstar Award, Department of Veterans Affairs, 2013
  • New Investigator Award, American Geriatrics Society, 2011
  • Best Poster, Quality of Life Section, American Geriatrics Society, 2009
  • Doctoral Completion Award, P.E.O., 2001
  • Ida Halpern Award for Research in Native American Music, Society for Ethnomusicology, 2001
  • Teachers Ranked Outstanding by their Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997-1999
  • Teachers Ranked Outstanding by their Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994-1995
  1. Stephens CE, Allison TA, Flint LA, David D, Wertz V, Halifax E, Barrientos P, Ritchie CS. Assessing Technical Feasibility and Acceptability of Telehealth Palliative Care in Nursing Homes. 2022. PMID: 36059909

  2. Lee S, Allison T, O'Neill D, Punch P, Helitzer E, Moss H. Integrative review of singing and music interventions for family carers of people living with dementia. 2022. PMID: 35417003

  3. Harrison KL, Garrett SB, Halim M, Bernstein Sideman A, Allison TA, Dohan D, Naasan G, Miller BL, Smith AK, Ritchie CS. "I Didn't Sign Up for This": Perspectives from Persons Living with Dementia and Care Partners on Challenges, Supports, and Opportunities to Add Geriatric Neuropalliative Care to Dementia Specialty Care. 2022. PMID: 36245375

  4. Allison TA, Gubner JM, Oh A, Harrison KL, Pham K, Barnes DE, Johnson JK, Covinsky KE, Smith AK. Meaningful Activities and Sources of Meaning for Community-Dwelling People Living with Dementia. 2021. PMID: 34481793

  5. Oh A, Allison TA, Mahoney K, Thompson N, Ritchie CS, Sudore RL, Harrison KL. Front-line Hospice Staff Perceptions of Barriers and Opportunities to Discussing Advance Care Planning With Hospice Patients and Their Families. 2021. PMID: 34391713

  6. Oh A, Gan S, Boscardin WJ, Allison TA, Barnes DE, Covinsky KE, Smith AK. Engagement in Meaningful Activities Among Older Adults With Disability, Dementia, and Depression. 2021. PMID: 33492334

  7. Cheng MKW, Allison TA, McSteen BW, Cattle CJ, Lo DT. The Adoption of Video Visits During the COVID-19 Pandemic by VA Home Based Primary Care. 2020. PMID: 33284996

  8. Allison TA, Nápoles AM, Johnson JK, Stewart AL, Rodriguez-Salazar M, Peringer J, Sherman S, Ortez-Alfaro J, Villero O, Portacolone E. Multi-cultural perspectives on group singing among diverse older adults. 2020. PMID: 32778434

  9. Harrison KL, Allison TA, Garrett SB, Thompson N, Sudore RL, Ritchie CS. Hospice Staff Perspectives on Caring for People with Dementia: A Multisite, Multistakeholder Study. 2020. PMID: 32130076

  10. Allison TA, Balbino RT, Covinsky KE. Caring community and relationship centred care on an end-stage dementia special care unit. 2019. PMID: 31220199

  11. Win AZ, Ceresa C, Arnold K, Allison TA. High Prevalence of Malnutrition among Elderly Veterans in Home Based Primary Care. Volume 21 of Issue 6. 2017. PMID: 28537323

  12. Romo RD, Allison TA, Smith AK, Wallhagen MI. Sense of Control in End-of-Life Decision-Making. Volume 65 of Issue 3. 2016. PMID: 28029695

  13. Johnson JK, Nápoles 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. Volume 15. 2015. PMID: 26463176

  14. Allison TA. Ethnomusicology 2013. PMID: