Dr. Scott Allen serves as medical advisor to PHR’s work on health in detention. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, he joined PHR’s campaign to stop torture. He worked extensively with PHR in efforts to ensure that the American Medical Association (AMA), the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC), and the American Psychological Association (APA) prohibit illegal and unethical practices of health professionals. He has also written and spoken extensively about the proper role of health professionals in the management of hunger strikes.
Dr. Allen was lead medical author of PHR’s reports “Experiments in Torture” and “Aiding Torture” and in 2007, he served as the lead researcher for PHR’s report on enhanced interrogation techniques, “Leave No Marks: Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality.”
Dr. Allen began his work in health and human rights at the age of 17 in Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand, listening to the stories of those who had escaped the Khmer Rouge’s torture and killing fields. After returning to the United States to complete his medical studies, he embarked on a career of caring for underserved and marginalized populations. Following three years in the National Health Services Corps in the Mississippi Delta and Rhode Island, he served for seven years as a full-time physician for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, acting as the department’s medical program director between 2001 and 2004. In 2004, Scott left that position and joined PHR in its investigations into the treatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the examination of the Bush Administration’s interrogation program – particularly of the participation of health professionals.
In 2018, Dr. Allen and his colleague Dr. Pamela McPherson became whistleblowers when they made protected disclosures to Congress about the harms of family detention in the U.S. immigration program where they worked as expert consultants.
Dr. Allen is currently a professor emeritus of medicine and former chair of medicine and associate dean of academic affairs at the University of California, Riverside. He is also the co-founder and co-director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Brown University.
As practicing clinicians, Dr. Allen and his wife, Dr. Emma Simmons, founded and see patients at the Access Clinic, a primary care clinic in Southern California for adults with developmental disabilities.