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Remembering Robert E. Allen, Jr., MD

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It with sadness that we share the news that Robert E. Allen, Jr., MD, the first African-American Clinical Professor of Surgery at UCSF, and a distinguished faculty member for over four decades, has passed away at the age of 83.

Dr. Allen completed his general surgery residency at UCSF and was a fellow in Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He went on to complete two additional postdoctoral fellowships, one in surgery at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the other in peripheral vascular research at San Francisco General Hospital. He always wanted to be a doctor.

A surgical oncologist who specialized in in melanoma surgery, Robert was a cofounder of the Northern California Melanoma Center, participating in the group’s weekly consulting panel and performing surgery on the Center’s patients until his retirement. He was a skillful and dedicated surgeon.

Dr. Allen authored many articles for medical periodicals and wrote chapters in an array of medical publications. He was a member of various honor societies and he held numerous professional memberships. Robert traveled the world speaking at medical conventions throughout the United States and Europe. He was a respected authority in his field.

“Robert was a close friend. He was the consummate clinical surgeon with great judgement and technical skills. He loved teaching students and residents and was a role model and mentor, especially to minority trainees. He was proud of the numerous residents he trained, many of whom are members of the Naffziger Society. I was humbled by his courage and equanimity right to the end. I will miss him sorely,” said Haile T. Debas, MD, Maurice Galante Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Emeritus at UCSF, and Director Emeritus of the UC Global Health Institute (UCGHI).

Robert will be dearly missed by his many friends and colleagues at UCSF and throughout the world. On behalf of the School of Medicine, we would like to extend our condolences to his family, friends, and close colleagues.

More on Dr. Allen's life and career can be found here