Alumni Spotlight: David Allen ’16, MD

Name:  David Allen
Denison Graduation Year:  Class of 2016
Denison Major:  Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry
Professional Degree Type:  MD from Ohio State College of Medicine
Contact Me:  Feel free to text/call at 614-477-8477 or to email at

David Allen, ’16

Tell us a bit about your current role and your time at Denison.

I am David Allen, a third-year resident in Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. We rotate at Memorial Hermann, MD Anderson, Lyndon B Johnson Hospital, and Houston Methodist. As a part of my residency, I perform operations in laryngology (airway and voice), head and neck cancer with microvascular reconstruction (take out a part of the jaw and replace it with a leg bone, for example), sinus surgery, ear surgery (temporal bone, hearing, etc), facial plastics (rhinoplasty, septoplasty, blepharoplasty), sleep surgery and participate in clinic within these fields as well. I graduated from Denison in 2016 with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry. I completed my thesis with distinction at Denison in Organic Chemistry. I went to Ohio State College of Medicine and graduated in 2020. I also participate in clinical research, including holding a clinical trial investigating radiofrequency neurolysis of the posterior nasal nerve (link). I plan on pursuing a fellowship in Head & Neck Oncologic and Endocrine Surgery and will seek to stay in academic medicine. I am fortunate enough to be able to publish peer-reviewed manuscripts and give oral presentations throughout the country. I recently published a paper on genomic targets in Nasopharyngeal Cell Carcinoma that I was lucky enough to be involved in. 

What did your career exploration look like at Denison and how did you decide to pursue medicine?

My career exploration at Denison was good. They helped with interview preparation and resume creation. I decided to become a physician because I love medicine. 

How did Denison, or your liberal arts education, prepare you for your career?

I was a mathematics major at Denison. Dr. Neal and Dr. Ludwig pushed me intellectually every day for four years. Their constant pushing helped me to think critically and become a better student and an academic. 

Since you sit on a medical school interview committee, what can you tell us about preparing for the medical school application process?

Medical School has become increasingly more competitive as time wears on. You should aim to excel in all classes, especially science classes, aiming for a GPA > 3.8. You do not need to have 1000s of extracurriculars but having a few solid ones that you excel at, hopefully service or science oriented, is helpful and important. You should aim to start shadowing earlier in your college career and if possible, try to be involved in research during your summers with the hopes of presenting at a conference or having a manuscript publication. Your MCAT score is remarkably important and preparation for this earlier rather than later will pay large dividends. This has become one of the most important aspects of your application.

By Sara Stasko
Sara Stasko Senior Associate Director