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  Home > Biographies > Kirk Allison, PhD, MS

Kirk Allison, PhD, MS

Kirk C. Allison, BA, BS, MA, MS, PhD was born in Wichita, Kansas. He received a bachelor’s of science degree in computer science and a BA in German from the University of Kansas (studying Informatik at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg). He completed a master’s degree (with honors) in Germanic Languages and Literatures also from the University of Kansas. In 1987 he was awarded a Fulbright grant to the Ludwig-Maximillian-Universität München where he pursued studies in German literature, theology (Institut für Systematische Theologie; Institut für Fundamentaltheologie und Ökumene), and philosophy of science (Institut für Statistik und Wissenschaftstheorie, Seminar für Philosophie, Logik und Wissenschaftstheorie). In 1988 he was a Hans Martin Schleyer Stiftung e.V. Seminar Stipendiat.

In Fall of 1988 he returned stateside to pursue a Ph.D. in Germanic Studies with a minor in Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, with study at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in 1990. In 1992 he completed an Emergency Medical Technician certification. In 1995 he was a translator/analyst in the Department of Rhetoric for the history of scientific writing (project of Gross, Harmon, and Reidy, Communicating Science: The Scientific Article from the Seventeenth Century to the Present, Oxford UP, 2002).  

His dissertation research at the Deutches Literaturarchiv in Marbach, Germany, concerned physician-poet Gottfried Benn (1886-1956). The project investigated the social location of Benn’s medical specialties (military medicine, psychiatry, pathology, dermatology-venerology, and epidemiology) in relation to his literature and ethics (relation to the Hippocratic ethical tradition; confluence of eugenics, aesthetics, and politics). In 2000 investigation of  physician training in anatomy was augmented by a Visiting Scholar Preceptorship at the Office of Medical Examiner, Hennepin County, Minnesota, concluding in Gottfried Benn’s Medical Exotics: Proximities in Literature, the Body and Ethos (2000, 739 p.) 

Additionally, he completed an MS in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration in 2006 (School of Public Health) focusing on applied research (econometrics), policy and bioethics.  

Having served on the colloquium committee of the Program in Human Rights and Medicine from 1997-1999, Dr. Allison assumed the duties of Associate Director in July of 2000. He was a consultant for the Human Rights Library study guide “The Right to Means for Adequate Health” (available in English and French) in 2003. Other collaborative projects concern uninsurance (Covering Kids and Families, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Special Solicitation Grant) and a 2004 policy recommendation review for the Minneapolis Department of Health & Family Support and the Hennepin County Human Services & Public Health Department (Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative, MS 145.928).

In 2006 Dr. Allison was appointed director of the Program in Human Rights and Health in the School of Public Health and as a lecturer in the Division of Health Policy and Management.  His courses concern health and human rights; global health, relief, development and  NGOs; and  the history of eugenics, lethality and research abuses in medicine and public health.  Dr. Allison is also a faculty affiliate of the Center of Holocaust and Genocide Studies. 

Dr. Allison has presented testimony to state legislative committees on topics such as “Genomics, Ethics and the Public Representation of Science” and “Stem Cell Research Policy: Is Ethics or Science Primary?” He has also provided testimony to the Congressional House Committee on Foreign Relations concerning organ harvesting in China. His publications discuss science and ideology, interdisciplinarity, the history of eugenics, participatory science policy, and the concept of human dignity in relation to disability. Additionally he has published research in applied linguistics and translations of poetry by Georg Trakl.  



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