Women in Clinical Immunology Sciences

Successful 2nd Annual WCIS Reception

The 2018-2019 season has been a busy one for WCIS! Following the great interest at the inaugural event in Toronto in April of 2018, the WCIS committee has put together awareness and education programming to help address the ongoing gender disparity in the sciences and to offer training and support to ALL who are interested.


Our first round of Women Pioneers in Immunology has set the pace for establishing role models in our community for young immunologists. We featured seven amazing scientists who have been integral in moving forward the field of immunology and who continue to serve as examples of how to carve your niche in our scientific environment. We hope to continue this feature with updates yearly based on recommendations from CIS members.


We have partnered with the Mentorship initiative of the CIS this year and have encouraged all those who are interested to become a mentor or mentee for advice, support, and connections. Many of our members clearly do this within their own institutions as well, but the targeted support which is given through CIS is invaluable.


Our second annual reception for WCIS was well received, with over 200 people in attendance! It is most certainly a testament to the supportive and forward-thinking environment which CIS offers. Dr. Laura Castillo-Page from the AAMC discussed Implicit Bias and Diversity in Academics; some of the resources from this talk can be found here.


In the coming year, our projects include creating a database of available speakers for utilization by organizations outside the Immunology community, programming for mentorship training, as well as addressing the timely issue of resilience and burnout in the sciences. If you have any specific ideas for initiatives for WCIS, please contact us to discuss them!


Finally, we are pleased to announce our upcoming Leadership Webinar on June 4th organized in partnership with the Early Career Immunologists to focus on Negotiating, Team Building, and Time Management. We look forward this and many more great programs in the near future.


Victoria Dimitriades and Alexandra Freeman
Co-Chairs, Women in Clinical Immunology Sciences committee

Purpose of the WCIS Committee

Women are integral to academic and clinical excellence, diversity, and all missions of the Clinical Immunology Society. Yet, women face unique challenges in academia and leadership positions; many experience attrition from the advancement pipeline.1 Dedicated strategies are needed to support the careers of women in biomedical science and medicine and ensure the success of women in all aspects of academic, research and clinical life. 2 Additionally, conscious efforts to promote gender balance on the part of conference organizing committees, can help to expand not only the high-quality presentations of valuable work, but to promote women as members of editorial boards, professional committees, and in other invited positions.3

Our goal is to support and encourage the advancement of women at all levels (general members, students, residents, fellows, post-doctoral, clinicians, and faculty) in the CIS to attain their full academic potential via mentorship, sponsorship, personal and professional development, leadership, innovation, inclusiveness, and a welcoming and supportive climate. By advancing women in the health sciences, we advance the excellence and diversity that is so vital to achieving our society’s mission.

Pioneers in Clinical Immunology

Kate Sullivan, MD, PhD

"A few gender-specific thoughts are in order given the mission of this group. I have many traditional female traits. I’m a builder of consensus, I lead by example, I try to build trust and forge community. But- niceness must not be mistaken for weakness. It is possible to be simultaneously fierce, supportive, and pleasant. Maybe that is not your personality. Great!  I don’t want you to be like me. I want you to be better and to succeed by being you..."


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Helen Chapel, MA MD FRcPath FRCP

"My inspiration to go into Immunology dates from the first heart transplant in S.Africa. I attended the Massachusetts General Hospital as a final year medical student to see for myself and then watched renal transplants in theatre in London. I was not convinced that this was an ethical, life saving procedure – how wrong I was..."


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Magda Carneiro-Sampaio, MD, PhD

"My clinical activities have been predominantly dedicated to PIDs, and I consider myself fortunate for being involved in an area that has had major breakthroughs over the past four decades..."


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Jennifer Puck, MD

"I did not know what I wanted to pursue after college, since I liked so many different subjects. I enjoyed science courses, but there were very few women in them at Harvard and I did not feel at home. I had spent 3 years as a music major, but actually much of my time, especially junior year, involved going from Cambridge to Washington DC to protest against the Viet Nam War..."


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Laurie H. Glimcher, MD

"I was the middle of three closely-spaced daughters born to parents who had decided that girls could do anything boys could do... My parents’ conviction that there were no limits to what energetic, bright girls could achieve was a persistent theme in our household and was woven into who I was early on..."

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Mary Louise Markert, MD, PhD

"Immunology has been the focus of my research career since the summer after my junior year in high school. The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine had a program for high school students who were interested in science..."



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Charlotte Cunningham-Rundles, MD, PhD

"I am not sure that I ever thought of immunology as a career. If you ask anyone what they think this might be, they are likely to ask if we go around with needles immunizing patients.  In a way, that might be a bit correct..."



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Do you know a woman who has been a pioneer in the field of clinical immunology? Let us know! Email us at info@clinimmsoc.org.

Letter from the WCIS Committee Chairs

Dear CIS,

The formation of the Women in Clinical Immunology Sciences (WCIS) committee has heralded some wonderful new initiatives for CIS. Our inaugural event at the CIS Annual Meeting in Toronto this year was quite well attended with 130 members in attendance!

We reviewed our common goal of celebrating and elevating women in Immunology, along with empowering them with skills to help them be better leaders and scientists. To help us towards this goal, we delineated four missions for our committee: Awareness and Recruitment, Mentorship, Leadership, and Culture and Resilience...


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  1. Shapiro VS et al. Update on Gender Equity in Immunology, 2001 to 2016. J Immunol 2016. 197(10):3751-3753
  2. Bauman M et al. The Women in Medicine and Health Medicine Program: An Innovative Initiative to Support Female Faculty at University of California School of Medicine. Acad Medicine 2014. 89 (11): 1462-1466
  3. Klein R et al. Speaking out about gender imbalance in invited speakers improves diversity. Nat Immunol 2016. 18(5): 475-479