Dr. Allen's Career
Being a neonatologist is a lifelong passion for Dr. Roger Allen, who has been Medical Director of Mercy’s advanced Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) since 2005.
As the most experienced neonatologist in Cedar Rapids, Dr. Allen brings a unique perspective and a wealth of expertise and skill to caring for newborns. His approach in leading Mercy’s skilled NICU staff includes using the best that technology and the latest neonatal practices have to offer, combined with sensitive, nurturing care that embraces each newborn’s family.
“I’ve always preferred to work in smaller nurseries because I like the hands-on part of neonatology the best,” he says.
Dr. Allen is a board-certified pediatric neonatologist with more than 35 years of experience. Throughout his remarkable career, he has specialized in pediatrics, neonatal-perinatal medicine and neonatology. He spent 18 years as NICU director at Trinity Health in Minot, N. Dak., a regional referral center for premature infants and newborns needing critical care. Before that, he headed the NICU at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, and was a staff neonatologist at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas.
Dr. Allen’s lengthy experience has allowed him to learn and hone proven methods of caring for newborns, as well as recognize the need for improving and upgrading some approaches to that care.
His skill and talent in neonatal care showed early in his career. He trained with the U.S. Army in Minot, caring for Army families. When he took his boards with the American Board of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, he scored the second highest in the nation.
In Minot, he cared for premature twins born at about 23 weeks gestation in 1993. At that time, newborns that young had little chance of making it. Their survival without handicaps made the Guinness Book of Records, Dr. Allen recalls. Thanks to the NICU care they received, the twins thrived.
Dr. Allen has been dedicated to newborn care for so long because of its unique rewards, he says.
“The problems are often very complicated, which I like,” he adds, smiling. “I like seeing the patient healthy; that’s what makes NICU so satisfying. When you care for pediatric and NICU patients, you’re working with a patient who’s going to turn into someone special, and go on and have a life. That’s fun.”
He and his staff have focused on honing their skills in specific areas of NICU care, Dr. Allen notes. They are well-trained, use evidence-based care procedures, and monitor and adopt best practices proven in national care outcomes.
“What’s really important to us is that each baby gets the best care available,” Dr. Allen explains.
“We are selective in the babies we take care of here. We provide quality, hands-on supportive care for near-term babies. We’ve been able to specialize in that area because we have the University of Iowa nearby for the toughest cases. They’re a great resource.”
Dr. Allen's favorite pastime reflects his love for little ones: taking care of his granddaughter.