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Faculty Profiles

James Allison, MD
M_MED-GAST-ZSFG
NON-SENATE ACAD EMERITUS(WOS)

1001 Potrero Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

Dr. Allison received a BA with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, and, in 1969, his MD from the University of Rochester. His entire post graduate training was at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He began his medical career at Kaiser San Rafael in 1974 where he was that groups' first gastroenterologist. In 1977 he transferred to Kaiser Oakland Medical Center where he was a full-time gastroenterologist and educator (Assistant Program Director – Internal Medicine) and where he devoted the majority of his time to patient care, administration, clinical research and teaching. In 1996 he received the Lowell Beal MD Award "in appreciation of his example of academic excellence combined with warm humanity." He retired as a clinician from Kaiser in 1998.


After his retirement from Kaiser, Dr. Allison was invited to be a member of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) faculty and an Emeritus Investigator at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research.


He is Clinical Professor of Medicine Emeritus at UCSF and is a member of the Division of Gastroenterology at UCSF and the San Francisco General Hospital. In 2003, he received the Bay Area Chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation's Premier Physician Award, and in 2004, the American Gastroenterological Association‘s (AGA) Distinguished Clinician Award. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the American Gastroenterological Association.


Dr. Allison is a national and international expert on screening tests for colon cancer. In a publication in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1996, he was the first person in the U.S. to show that the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) was superior to the standard guaiac fecal occult blood test for screening for colorectal cancer. Since 2000 Dr. Allison has been an ad hoc consultant to the Centers for Disease Control, National Cancer Institute and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on issues concerned with screening for colorectal cancer. Currently he is working with the California Colorectal Cancer Coalition (C4), California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health to increase screening rates in the uninsured/underserved population by instituting a FIT based screening program in clinics served by safety net hospitals. The screening model this group has developed is being exported to other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and state of California and has support from both the CDC and the American Gastroenterological Association.


In addition to expertise in colorectal cancer screening tests, Dr. Allison has been a dedicated researcher in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In 2005 he helped establish an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) registry of over 25000 patients at Kaiser's Division of Research. In the past 7 years, close to 20 peer reviewed publications have been published from information contained in the registry.


Dr. Allison's screening and IBD research has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, The New England Journal of Medicine, Gastroenterology, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and other peer reviewed journals. He has been quoted in Prevention Magazine, the Ladies' Home Journal, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times.

Education and Training

Location Degree or Training Specialty Date
UCSF PGY 3 and Fellowship in Gastroenterology Internal Medicine/Gastroenterology 06/1974
UCLA PGY 1&2 Internal Medicine 05/1971
University of Rochester MD Medicine 05/1969
University of Pennsylvania AB French 05/1964

Recent Articles (57)

Young GP, Senore C, Mandel JS, Allison JE, Atkin WS, Benamouzig R, Bossuyt PM, Silva MD, Guittet L, Halloran SP, Haug U, Hoff G, Itzkowitz SH, Leja M, Levin B, Meijer GA, O'Morain CA, Parry S, Rabeneck L, Rozen P, Saito H, Schoen RE, Seaman HE, Steele RJ, Sung JJ, Winawer SJ. Recommendations for a step-wise comparative approach to the evaluation of new screening tests for colorectal cancer. Cancer. 2016 Mar 15; 122(6):826-39.

Tinmouth J, Lansdorp-Vogelaar I, Allison JE. Faecal immunochemical tests versus guaiac faecal occult blood tests: what clinicians and colorectal cancer screening programme organisers need to know. Gut. 2015 Aug; 64(8):1327-37.

Fraser CG, Allison JE, Young GP, Halloran SP, Seaman HE. Improving the reporting of evaluations of faecal immunochemical tests for haemoglobin: the FITTER standard and checklist. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2015 Jan; 24(1):24-6.

Young GP, Symonds EL, Allison JE, Cole SR, Fraser CG, Halloran SP, Kuipers EJ, Seaman HE. Advances in Fecal Occult Blood Tests: the FIT revolution. Dig Dis Sci. 2015 Mar; 60(3):609-22.

Green BB, Coronado GD, Devoe JE, Allison J. Navigating the murky waters of colorectal cancer screening and health reform. Am J Public Health. 2014 Jun; 104(6):982-6.

Gupta S, Sussman DA, Doubeni CA, Anderson DS, Day L, Deshpande AR, Elmunzer BJ, Laiyemo AO, Mendez J, Somsouk M, Allison J, Bhuket T, Geng Z, Green BB, Itzkowitz SH, Martinez ME. Challenges and possible solutions to colorectal cancer screening for the underserved. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Apr; 106(4):dju032.

Allison JE, Fraser CG, Halloran SP, Young GP. Population screening for colorectal cancer means getting FIT: the past, present, and future of colorectal cancer screening using the fecal immunochemical test for hemoglobin (FIT). Gut Liver. 2014 Mar; 8(2):117-30.

Fraser CG, Allison JE, Young GP, Halloran SP, Seaman H. A standard for Faecal Immunochemical TesTs for haemoglobin evaluation reporting (FITTER). Ann Clin Biochem. 2014 Mar; 51(Pt 2):301-2.

Fraser CG, Halloran SP, Allison JE, Young GP. Making colorectal cancer screening FITTER for purpose with quantitative faecal immunochemical tests for haemoglobin (FIT). Clin Chem Lab Med. 2013 Nov; 51(11):2065-7.

Day LW, Bhuket T, Allison J. FIT testing: an overview. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2013 Nov; 15(11):357.

Li D, Collins B, Velayos FS, Liu L, Lewis JD, Allison JE, Flowers NT, Hutfless S, Abramson O, Herrinton LJ. Racial and ethnic differences in health care utilization and outcomes among ulcerative colitis patients in an integrated health-care organization. Dig Dis Sci. 2014 Feb; 59(2):287-94.

Fraser CG, Allison JE, Young GP, Halloran SP. Quantitation of hemoglobin improves fecal immunochemical tests for noninvasive screening. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Jul; 11(7):839-40.

Gupta S, Tong L, Anderson P, Rose B, Carter E, Koch M, Argenbright K, Ahn C, Allison J, Skinner CS. Measurement of colorectal cancer test use with medical claims data in a safety-net health system. Am J Med Sci. 2013 Feb; 345(2):99-103.

Allison JE. Colorectal-cancer screening. N Engl J Med. 2012 May 31; 366(22):2130; author reply 1231.

Herrinton LJ, Liu L, Levin TR, Allison JE, Lewis JD, Velayos F. Incidence and mortality of colorectal adenocarcinoma in persons with inflammatory bowel disease from 1998 to 2010. Gastroenterology. 2012 Aug; 143(2):382-9.

Fraser CG, Allison JE, Halloran SP, Young GP. A proposal to standardize reporting units for fecal immunochemical tests for hemoglobin. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2012 Jun 06; 104(11):810-4.

Fraser CG, Allison JE, Young GP, Halloran SP. Newer fecal tests: opportunities for professionals in laboratory medicine. Clin Chem. 2012 Jun; 58(6):963-5.

Allison JE, Fraser CG, Halloran SP, Young GP. Comparing fecal immunochemical tests: improved standardization is needed. Gastroenterology. 2012 Mar; 142(3):422-4.

Herrinton LJ, Liu L, Weng X, Lewis JD, Hutfless S, Allison JE. Role of thiopurine and anti-TNF therapy in lymphoma in inflammatory bowel disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2011 Dec; 106(12):2146-53.

Allison JE, Fraser CG. ACP Journal Club. Fecal immunochemical tests had better sensitivity for detecting colorectal neoplasia in aspirin users than in nonusers. Ann Intern Med. 2011 Apr 19; 154(8):JC4-10.

Allison JE. FIT: a valuable but underutilized screening test for colorectal cancer-it's time for a change. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 Sep; 105(9):2026-8.

Velayos FS, Liu L, Lewis JD, Allison JE, Flowers N, Hutfless S, Abramson O, Perry GS, Herrinton LJ. Prevalence of colorectal cancer surveillance for ulcerative colitis in an integrated health care delivery system. Gastroenterology. 2010 Nov; 139(5):1511-8.

Abramson O, Durant M, Mow W, Finley A, Kodali P, Wong A, Tavares V, McCroskey E, Liu L, Lewis JD, Allison JE, Flowers N, Hutfless S, Velayos FS, Perry GS, Cannon R, Herrinton LJ. Incidence, prevalence, and time trends of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease in Northern California, 1996 to 2006. J Pediatr. 2010 Aug; 157(2):233-239.e1.

Allison JE. Colorectal cancer screening guidelines: the importance of evidence and transparency. Gastroenterology. 2010 May; 138(5):1648-1652.e2.

Allison JE. The best screening test for colorectal cancer is the one that gets done well. Gastrointest Endosc. 2010 Feb; 71(2):342-5.

Liu L, Allison JE, Herrinton LJ. Validity of computerized diagnoses, procedures, and drugs for inflammatory bowel disease in a northern California managed care organization. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2009 Nov; 18(11):1086-93.

Allison JE, Potter MB. New screening guidelines for colorectal cancer: a practical guide for the primary care physician. Prim Care. 2009 Sep; 36(3):575-602.

Gupta S, Tong L, Allison JE, Carter E, Koch M, Rockey DC, Anderson P, Ahn C, Argenbright K, Skinner CS. Screening for colorectal cancer in a safety-net health care system: access to care is critical and has implications for screening policy. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Sep; 18(9):2373-9.

Allison JE. The imperative of equal funding for studies that evaluate any of the evidence-based, guideline-recommended colorectal cancer screening tests. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Dec; 7(12):1269-71.

Herrinton LJ, Liu L, Fireman B, Lewis JD, Allison JE, Flowers N, Hutfless S, Velayos FS, Abramson O, Altschuler A, Perry GS. Time trends in therapies and outcomes for adult inflammatory bowel disease, Northern California, 1998-2005. Gastroenterology. 2009 Aug; 137(2):502-11.

Ahlquist DA, Sargent DJ, Loprinzi CL, Levin TR, Rex DK, Ahnen DJ, Knigge K, Lance MP, Burgart LJ, Hamilton SR, Allison JE, Lawson MJ, Devens ME, Harrington JJ, Hillman SL. Stool DNA and occult blood testing for screen detection of colorectal neoplasia. Ann Intern Med. 2008 Oct 07; 149(7):441-50, W81.

Allison J, Herrinton LJ, Liu L, Yu J, Lowder J. Natural history of severe ulcerative colitis in a community-based health plan. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Sep; 6(9):999-1003.

Pressman AR, Hutfless S, Velayos F, Fireman B, Lewis JD, Allison J, Abramson O, Herrinton LJ. Patterns of infliximab use among Crohn's disease patients in a community setting. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008 Sep; 14(9):1265-72.

Herrinton LJ, Liu L, Lewis JD, Griffin PM, Allison J. Incidence and prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease in a Northern California managed care organization, 1996-2002. Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Aug; 103(8):1998-2006.

Altschuler A, Collins B, Lewis JD, Velayos F, Allison JE, Hutfless S, Liu L, Herrinton LJ. Gastroenterologists' attitudes and self-reported practices regarding inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008 Jul; 14(7):992-9.

Hutfless SM, Weng X, Liu L, Allison J, Herrinton LJ. Mortality by medication use among patients with inflammatory bowel disease, 1996-2003. Gastroenterology. 2007 Dec; 133(6):1779-86.

Allison JE, Sakoda LC, Levin TR, Tucker JP, Tekawa IS, Cuff T, Pauly MP, Shlager L, Palitz AM, Zhao WK, Schwartz JS, Ransohoff DF, Selby JV. Screening for colorectal neoplasms with new fecal occult blood tests: update on performance characteristics. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007 Oct 03; 99(19):1462-70.

Allison JE. Should recommendations for colorectal-cancer screening be changed? Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2007 Jul; 4(7):392-3.

Weng X, Liu L, Barcellos LF, Allison JE, Herrinton LJ. Clustering of inflammatory bowel disease with immune mediated diseases among members of a northern california-managed care organization. Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Jul; 102(7):1429-35.

Herrinton LJ, Liu L, Lafata JE, Allison JE, Andrade SE, Korner EJ, Chan KA, Platt R, Hiatt D, O'Connor S. Estimation of the period prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease among nine health plans using computerized diagnoses and outpatient pharmacy dispensings. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2007 Apr; 13(4):451-61.

Rennard SI, Fogarty C, Kelsen S, Long W, Ramsdell J, Allison J, Mahler D, Saadeh C, Siler T, Snell P, Korenblat P, Smith W, Kaye M, Mandel M, Andrews C, Prabhu R, Donohue JF, Watt R, Lo KH, Schlenker-Herceg R, Barnathan ES, Murray J. The safety and efficacy of infliximab in moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 May 01; 175(9):926-34.

Allison JE, Lawson M. Screening tests for colorectal cancer: a menu of options remains relevant. Curr Oncol Rep. 2006 Nov; 8(6):492-8.

Allison JE. Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines 2005: the fecal occult blood test option has become a better FIT. Gastroenterology. 2005 Aug; 129(2):745-8.

Allison JE. Immunochemical fecal occult blood tests for colorectal cancer screening. Am J Med. 2004 Apr 01; 116(7):498; author reply 498-9.

Allison JE, Hurley LB, Hiatt RA, Levin TR, Ackerson LM, Lieu TA. A randomized controlled trial of test-and-treat strategy for Helicobacter pylori: clinical outcomes and health care costs in a managed care population receiving long-term acid suppression therapy for physician-diagnosed peptic ulcer disease. Arch Intern Med. 2003 May 26; 163(10):1165-71.

Allison JE, Selby J. Screening for colorectal cancer. N Engl J Med. 2001 Dec 20; 345(25):1850; author reply 1851-2.

Allison JE. The effect of fecal occult-blood screening on the incidence of colorectal cancer. N Engl J Med. 2001 Mar 29; 344(13):1022; author reply 1023.

Groeneveld PW, Lieu TA, Fendrick AM, Hurley LB, Ackerson LM, Levin TR, Allison JE. Quality of life measurement clarifies the cost-effectiveness of Helicobacter pylori eradication in peptic ulcer disease and uninvestigated dyspepsia. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 Feb; 96(2):338-47.

Allison JE. Review article: faecal occult blood testing for colorectal cancer. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Jan; 12(1):1-10.

Allison JE, Tekawa IS, Ransom LJ, Adrain AL. Improving the fecal occult-blood test. N Engl J Med. 1996 Jun 13; 334(24):1607-8.

Allison JE, Tekawa IS, Ransom LJ, Adrain AL. A comparison of fecal occult-blood tests for colorectal-cancer screening. N Engl J Med. 1996 Jan 18; 334(3):155-9.

Allison JE. Screening for colorectal cancer. N Engl J Med. 1993 Oct 28; 329(18):1352; author reply 1353-4.

Allison JE, Feldman R, Tekawa IS. Hemoccult screening in detecting colorectal neoplasm: sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value. Long-term follow-up in a large group practice setting. Ann Intern Med. 1990 Mar 01; 112(5):328-33.

Allison JE, Feldman R. Carcinoma and anemia. Dig Dis Sci. 1986 Jun; 31(6):667.

Allison JE, Feldman R. Cost benefits of hemoccult screening for colorectal carcinoma. Dig Dis Sci. 1985 Sep; 30(9):860-5.

Allison JE. Gastrocolic fistula as a complication of gastric lymphoma. Am J Gastroenterol. 1973 Jun; 59(6):499-504.

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