Dr. Robert Allison joins Sendero Health Plans Leadership as Chief Medical Officer

Sendero Health Plans, Inc. announced [on Tuesday] that Dr. Robert Allison, a former section chief for infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has joined the health plan’s leadership as Chief Medical Officer.  Dr. Allison brings broad international experience shaping successful public health initiatives for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and most recently NIH.

“I first learned of Sendero when I was contacted by the health plan to advance their pioneering programs to help their members detect, treat, and eliminate the hepatitis C virus (Hep C),” said Dr. Allison.  “That enabled me to see first-hand the power of Sendero’s unique model for the Austin area: A community-based nonprofit health plan with a primary focus of engaging with and re-investing in the community it serves and its critical role in providing high-quality healthcare coverage to the uninsured and underserved in the Austin area.”

At NIH, Dr. Allison spearheaded the transformation of a section credited with co-discovery of the hepatitis B (Hep B) and C viruses. At CDC and WHO he was the focal point for Hep B control where he negotiated policies and procedures for achieving control of vaccine-preventable diseases in 21 countries.  As a Medical Officer for WHO, he supported the polio eradication program in Southeast Asia. Dr. Allison maintains a faculty appointment in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and serves on the teaching faculty for the preventive medicine residency program. He is also active in the American College of Preventive Medicine.


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Among his other accomplishments, Dr. Allison led critical field-based medical monitoring and patient safety activities in Sierra Leone for the Ebola vaccine trial – the fastest vaccine roll-out in history.  As a U.S. Naval Medical Officer and Head of Clinical Quality, he was trained as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and credited with transforming a 250,000 member U.S. Navy healthcare system into the best in Navy Medicine in quality performance.

“Dr. Allison brings a unique set of skills that is perfectly suited to Sendero’s work for Austin,” said Wes Durkalski, CEO of Sendero. “As a community health plan, we are working to make the community healthy, and Robert brings key skills in this area.  We are thrilled to have him join our team.”

Why join Sendero?  Dr. Allison says:

“I was planning to make a transition from NIH back to the front-lines of public health in poor countries to improve health for the most vulnerable populations.  However, the U.S. also has millions of people who are sick and lack access to quality healthcare.  As I contemplated Sendero’s approach and the opportunity to join the leadership team, I knew I wanted to help them achieve their mission.”

In his role as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allison is responsible for working with Sendero members to improve their health, assuring safe and effective medical services across a network of more than 2,000 service providers and expanding Sendero’s community-health initiatives.

“As Chief Medical Officer, I have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the health of both individual patients and the broader community,” said Allison.  “We have a number of ongoing community-health programs along with several new initiatives under development that we will announce in the coming months. By focusing on preventive medicine and social determinants of health and ensuring that the highest quality care is delivered to those who need it most in Central Texas, we will make a difference.”

This press release was provided by Sendero Health Plans, Inc.