Peg Allen worked initially as a nurse before deciding she wanted to become involved in preventing disease rather than just treating it.
“Working as a visiting nurse and seeing the tremendous suffering from the complications of diabetes in particular — people were suffering so much, from blindness, amputations …emphysema and had a poor quality of life for years,” she recalled.
“Meeting people with these horrendous chronic conditions made me want to work on the prevention side,” she said. She worked at a health department, then went to the University of Michigan to learn about population health. She returned to a state health department well prepared for the statewide work in tobacco control and coordinated school health promotion. She then worked at the University of New Mexico prevention research center in applied research in tobacco and school health, partnering with state health and education agencies. Nine years ago, she joined the Brown School to learn additional research skills while a doctoral student at the Prevention Research Center. Fascinated with the PRC’s applied research projects with state and local health departments, she stayed on to contribute and continue to learn on the job.
“Working on evidence-based health has been very interesting to me,” said Allen, who has focused on how researchers can support capacity building in state and local health agencies to prevent chronic disease. “We had known that leadership support is very helpful in building the capacity to use research evidence and advance change, but I was still surprised at what a huge difference a champion for evidence based decision making could make.”
“I’m excited to apply lessons learned to the new PRC projects with state and local health departments.”