September 6, 2018

Desert Pain and Spine Welcomes Dr. Rachel Allen

Hi! My name is Rachel Allen. I recently moved here from Salt Lake City to help serve the southern Utah community in the treatment of chronic pain and back pain.

Let me start from the beginning. I am a native Utahn, born in Salt Lake City. I fondly remember growing up on the benches of the Wasatch mountains and skiing almost by the time I was able to walk. When I was 10 years old, I moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to be closer to my mother’s side of the family and to my grandmother, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully, my grandmother made a wonderful recovery and was in remission within a few years. I stayed in Wisconsin, earning my undergraduate degree at St. Norbert College, a small liberal arts college. I graduated summa cum laude with a major in chemistry and minor in biology. Because my mother was a pediatrician, I always knew I wanted to go into medicine, and I was given the most amazing role model to do that. I ended up staying in Wisconsin for medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Little did I know I would meet a southern Utah boy kiddy-corner from my station in anatomy lab who would become the love of my life. We got married our first year out of medical school, and we both decided to go into the field of anesthesiology.

 

We moved back to Utah to complete our residency at the University of Utah. A few months later, we were delivered the devastating news that my mother-in-law, Momma Joni—my mom away from mom—was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer. Given the extent of her disease, she opted not to pursue chemotherapy or radiation. Thirteen months later, she passed away during the first snowfall of the season on our second wedding anniversary. We were heartbroken. I didn’t know at that point, but Momma Joni’s struggle with cancer would be the catalyst that would catapult me into applying for a chronic pain fellowship. Seeing her furrowed brow of pain melt away after administering pain medication was the fire that fueled my passion to help others in such need. After her passing, two blessings came our way: our daughter, Audrey Joni and my acceptance into the University of Utah’s chronic pain fellowship.

My husband and I stayed on at the university following the completion of our fellowships (mine in chronic pain and his in transplant anesthesia). In February 2018, we welcomed our second daughter, Cora Jane. (Jane is my mother’s name and our second namesake for my amazing pediatrician mother.) With two little ones, our desire to be closer to family grew. We were so excited when we were offered an opportunity to move back to St George. When I was offered the ability to work with Dr. Empey and his team at Desert Pain and Spine, it was an absolute no-brainer. His model of patient care, his dedication to delivering the most technologically advanced and minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic service, and his support and care for each individual patient was exactly how I wanted to practice. We are finally back home where Momma Joni raised her children. I hope to bring to this community the same care, concern, and dedication to serving others that both mothers in my life have shown me. I am excited to be serving both here in St George and in Mesquite.

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