David Allison

David Allison Appointed to Lead the IU School of Public Health

A leading voice for scientific rigor in public health, nutrition, and obesity research will soon lead the Indiana University School of Public Health in Bloomington. David Allison becomes dean of the school on August 15.

A Passion for Science

People who know Allison cannot miss his passion for scientific rigor and integrity. He explained to the IU community late last week:

Science is my abiding passion. I never get tired of learning new things, exchanging ideas and trying to figure things out. I really look forward to working with other researchers at IU and collaborating with our surrounding communities on projects to improve communities and support IU Bloomington’s School of Public Health students in exploring bold new ideas and pursuing truth through science.

Asking Questions and Challenging Assumptions

Public health is a noble pursuit. But as people pursue noble goals, the line between presumptions and facts can easily become fuzzy. In an age of low public trust, this presents a problem. People with competing views argue forcefully for public health policies based upon observational evidence. Credibility suffers.

So we fight about guidelines for sugar, saturated fats, and salt. We spend decades trying to prevent the rise of obesity. But we find that our prevention strategies don’t appear to be working.

Answering these challenges, Allison repeatedly calls for scientific rigor. Writing recently in the International Journal of Obesity, Allison and colleagues explained:

Our field will benefit from a greater emphasis on probative research. Probative research would meaningfully move us forward in our ability to state that a given treatment or prevention strategy does or does not have a particular effect. This is in contrast to studies that merely continue to draw attention to the plausibility of some treatment having some effect but do not increase our knowledge that such an effect actually exists.

Policy debates – especially in public health – are inevitable. Debates about facts and science should not be. We delight in seeing advocates for scientific rigor, such as Allison, advance through the ranks of leadership in public health.

Click here to read more about Allison’s appointment.

David Allison, photograph © University of Alabama at Birmingham

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


June 19, 2017

2 Responses to “David Allison Appointed to Lead the IU School of Public Health”

  1. June 19, 2017 at 11:08 am, Joe Gitchell said:

    Awesome, Ted — fantastic news.


  2. June 27, 2017 at 4:01 pm, Bernard (Bob) Gutin said:

    Congratulations, David, I hope you will continue to apply your critical talents to what actually causes obesity, so that more effective preventive strategies can be formulated.