Vice President for Health Sciences
Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, is an internationally recognized neurologist, accomplished researcher and health science administrator. Brashear was appointed vice president for health sciences at the University at Buffalo and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in December 2021.
Brashear, a visionary leader whose work reflects a demonstrated and enduring commitment to serving the greater good, is responsible for setting the strategic direction for UB’s five schools of health and directly leading the Jacobs School.
In her roles as vice president for health sciences and dean, she leads the strategic integration of interprofessional education and practice, health sciences collaborative research, and clinical programs across the university’s health science schools — the Jacobs school, dental medicine, nursing, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, public health and health professions — as well as programs among our hospital and clinical affiliates.
As academic and administrative head of the Jacobs School, Brashear is responsible for providing overall leadership to the school to promote academic excellence, fostering an inclusive environment and advancing the school’s national and international prominence in basic and translational research, medical education, clinical engagement and service.
Brashear serves on the university’s senior leadership team, working with the president, provost, deans and other key leaders to advance the university’s mission of excellence in education, research and engagement.
Brashear is an internationally renowned researcher in movement disorders and an expert in ATP1A3-related diseases, a spectrum of rare neurologic disorders. She has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health since 2008, conducting groundbreaking research on these diseases. Her work has fundamentally transformed the way spasticity and dystonia are treated.
She was the principal investigator to describe a unique genetic form of dystonia known as rapid-onset dystonia-Parkinsonism (RDP), which is characterized by the sudden onset of involuntary muscle contractions that can be painful and prevent one’s ability to walk, talk and participate in activities of daily living.
Brashear was lead investigator for the trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine that first demonstrated that botulinum toxin successfully treated wrist and finger spasticity in stroke victims.
At Wake Forest School of Medicine, she co-led the Wake Forest NeuroNext Clinical Site, one of 25 sites in a clinical trial network funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, designed to expedite therapy development for neurological disorders.
During her 30-year career, she led more than 40 clinical trials aimed at developing potential treatments for spasticity after stroke and cervical dystonia, or abnormal, involuntary movements of the neck. Her work has led to three FDA-approved medications for treating patients with disabling muscle spasms.
Brashear is also a powerful advocate for promoting diverse leaders in medicine and was instrumental in creating one of the first national leadership programs in neurology for women. She is a frequent lecturer on the importance of diversity in medicine, and a lifelong champion of advancing women’s leadership in medicine.
She is a frequent lecturer on the importance of diversity in medicine and a lifelong champion of advancing women’s leadership in medicine.
Brashear is the former dean of the University of California, Davis School of Medicine (2019-2021). U.S. News & World Report recognized the School of Medicine as the fourth most diverse medical school in the nation and a leader in primary care, family medicine and research. Under her leadership, the school achieved record research awards of $368 million and more than doubled its clinical trial awards in 2020.
Prior to joining Davis, Brashear served as the Chair of Neurology at Wake Forest School of Medicine for 14 years. She held the Walter C. Teagle Endowed Chair of Neurology and was one of the first faculty members appointed to the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center board of directors. During her tenure she established the neuroscience service line, nearly doubled the size of the department and increased research funding.
Brashear serves a trustee to the McKnight Brain Research Foundation and as a vice chair on the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She was recently elected to the Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Deans Administrative Board where she will help shape the AAMC’s strategies that drive innovation, produce clinical excellence, advance research, strengthen the health care workforce, support students, and address disparities in academic medicine.
While on the board of the American Academy of Neurology, she was instrumental in crafting a leadership program for women, now expanded to include leadership development for minorities.
Brashear graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she completed her residency in neurology and later became a professor of neurology. Brashear holds an MBA from Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, with a focus on health-sector management. Brashear was named an Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Deans Fellow in 2014. Brashear completed the Harvard School of Public Health Leadership program for physicians, as well as a national program for women leaders in academic medicine, Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM).
The quadruple helix approach speaks to her ongoing experiences at the Jacobs School as its dean: educating the next generation of medical doctors and research scientists, exploring areas of clinically impactful and cutting-edge discovery science, and conducting impactful research, and cultivating relationships through community involvement.