For more than three decades, Dr. Roosevelt Allen both participated in and had a front-row seat to that most unique and solemn brand of service. By serving as a dentist in the U.S. Air Force, including four deployments before retiring as a major general, he absorbed lessons that he carries with him today as United Concordia Dental’s chief dental officer.
“It helps you to have a better appreciation of not only the sacrifices the service members make, but also the sacrifices of the family members they leave behind while on deployment,” said Dr. Allen, who retired in 2018. “The military is about service to others, and after 32 years, I wanted to continue that service.”
Years ago, Dr. Allen’s values, based around education and religion, were instilled by his parents and many others, him being the youngest of seven children. And growing up with limited means in rural Virginia, at a time when that part of the country was only beginning to break free of segregation, the support was invaluable.
Now in civilian life, Dr. Allen is dedicated to paying forward his success and supporting others as a leading figure with Highmark’s dental solutions partner. His previous experiences emphasized how important access to healthcare and education are to a patient’s wellbeing. Not to mention, he knows better than most the vital link between oral and systemic health.
“Research shows a large percentage of these chronic conditions — such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, glaucoma — are all related to bacteria that occur in the oral cavity,” Dr. Allen said.That’s what makes the various charitable, volunteer and community efforts United Concordia participates in so valuable. Mobile dental clinics, for one, can be found across the organization’s service area, bringing the dentist’s office to rural areas or neighborhoods where Medicaid members lack easy access to care or transportation.
“It makes a difference to be sensitive to the needs of the families,” Dr. Allen said.
It all shows in Dr. Allen’s volunteer work, as well, which includes serving on multiple dental school and industry boards and supporting causes for veterans. He’s also deeply involved in Lincoln University’s (Pa.) alumni association, and along with his wife and the help of Highmark, he is establishing an endowment that will eventually provide scholarships to two new students — one focused on education and another on science.Dr. Allen also serves on the board for the United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund, which focuses on the pillars of workforce development, providing dental care for the uninsured or underinsured, and diversity and inclusion initiatives, including oral health equity.
“The Fund has provided scholarships to students who are underrepresented in our profession, and we’ve helped programs to offer free care to the community and veterans, as well,” he said.
“If you look at our mission, it’s all about ensuring remarkable experiences for our members and they’re able to reach their best. It’s about eliminating barriers to care, and I think what we’re doing is going to eliminate some of those barriers.”
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