Philanthropists Robert H. Allen, MD, and his wife Nancy Carroll Allen have announced a $1 million commitment to the University of Colorado School of Medicine to support the creation of the Robert W. Schrier, MD Endowed Chair in the Department of Medicine.
The Allens’ previous gifts provided all of the funding for four endowed chairs in the Hematology Division. With this commitment, private support to establish the endowed chair in honor of Schrier will be more than halfway to its goal of $2.5 million.
“Bob and his wife Barbara are good friends of ours and he was an excellent leader for the Department of Medicine,” said Robert Allen. “We feel that this is one way we can thank and honor him for all that he has done for each of us as well as the Department and the School.”
Robert Allen was recruited by Schrier to head the Hematology Division at the CU School of Medicine in 1977 from Washington University in St. Louis. Allen is well known for his work with vitamin B12 transport and metabolism. In 1978, he invented a much more accurate method for measuring vitamin B12 in blood. The increased ability to detect low levels of B12 in blood is important because patients with B12 deficiency develop serious hematologic and neurologic abnormalities that respond well to treatment with B12.
Nancy was the clinical coordinator of all the human studies with the new B12 assay, which is used today by clinical laboratories throughout the world. Robert Allen credits Nancy with helping him choose medical research rather than private practice.
Robert Allen’s inventions and co-inventions are protected by 16 U.S. patents obtained by the University of Colorado through its technology-transfer program. He maintains an active research laboratory at the university.
David Schwartz, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, praised the Allens’ generosity.
“The Schrier Chair not only recognizes the long and celebrated growth of the Department of Medicine during Dr. Schrier’s tenure, it will also help ensure the future of the Department of Medicine,” said Schwartz.
Schrier’s tenure was marked by the greatest period of growth in the department’s history. He recruited outstanding leadership and faculty in each of the 13 divisions, built strong relationships with the community, added 25 new endowed chairs, and provided a superb environment for the growth of new knowledge. During Schrier’s chairmanship, the department rose to become one of the outstanding training programs in the nation.
The Allens’ gift is one of the more than 275,000 gifts made during Creating Futures, a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign to enhance University of Colorado education, research, outreach and health programs benefiting citizens throughout and beyond Colorado.