UAB Distinguished Professor David B. Allison elected to Institute of Medicine

World-renowned obesity expert becomes one of nearly 30 past and present UAB researchers to attain one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

David B. Allison, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and associate dean for science in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the IOM is recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues. Membership is reserved for individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

“I’m absolutely thrilled — I wasn’t expecting this and I am deeply, deeply gratified,” says Allison, who was selected along with 69 other new members and 10 foreign associates. The newly elected members raise the IOM’s active membership to 1,732 and the number of foreign associates to 112.

New IOM members are elected by current active members. The highly competitive process is designed to honor individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.

“UAB is extremely proud of this well-deserved honor for Dr. Allison,” says Richard Marchase, Ph.D., interim president of UAB. “It is an affirmation of his national leadership in obesity research and prevention, as well as UAB’s broader leadership role in public health and medicine.”

Allison’s selection adds his name to a roster of nearly 30 current and past UAB researchers who have achieved this prestigious distinction.

“It’s a great honor to join my colleagues at UAB who have held this distinction, including but not limited to Dr. Bill Koopman and Dr. Suzanne Oparil,” Allison says. “To be counted among those people here at UAB is really thrilling for me.”

Allison, who is internationally renowned for his work in obesity and statistical genetics, has published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers and has made contributions in the field of obesity research that have been widely noted by academicians, federal agencies, industry leaders and colleagues. At UAB, he also serves as the director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center and the Office of Energetics.

“I think that UAB, the NORC and I have developed something of a reputation for being willing and able to think outside the box in many areas, especially with obesity,” Allison says. “We’ve been able to challenge conventional thinking and I think that’s well received and perhaps part of what made me interesting to the IOM.”

Allison hopes that in the long-term, his new membership will lead to greater participation in IOM initiatives.

“I’m hopeful this gives me more opportunity to work with them,” says Allison, “and to contribute to the rigorous use of scientific research in both generating the very best evidence for our field as well as promoting dissemination of clear messages about what the evidence is for various proposed approaches.”