"The CIS has made a major impact on my career as a clinical immunology and physician scientist. As a fellow in training, I had the opportunity to attend the CIS Summer School and meet some of the most influential senior members of our field — meaningful “face-time” with immunologists whose names I had only heard of and whose faces I had only seen on a stage in a large auditorium! This was an amazing opportunity to identify career mentors and collaborators for future work. It was also my first opportunity to form a national network of peers at the same stage of career development, many of whom have remained friends, colleagues and collaborators to this day.
Every year at the CIS Annual Meeting, reconnecting with these senior mentors and peers invigorates me and pushes me to continue my efforts. This is particularly important as someone practicing at a smaller academic center; knowing that “I am not alone” and have this national/international network of colleagues to collaborate with has made it possible both to provide outstanding care for my patients and to contribute to scientific advances in the field."
I joined CIS when I was a fellow in training, and even from the beginning, I have felt so welcome at every CIS meeting/event I have attended. Everyone is encouraged to participate in discussions and is interested in your opinion, regardless of the number of years you have been in practice, your subspecialty, or the type of practice setting you currently work. The camaraderie and collegiality among CIS members is warming and inspiring, and some many collaborations have resulted from this.
CIS is my work family, and I never want to miss an opportunity to interact with fellow CIS members. Because of this, I initially participated in CIS Summer School. This was an amazing and unique experience, and I am grateful I was able to participate. After summer school, I quickly got involved with the Early Career Immunologists committee and am currently the committee chair. Serving in this role has not only enhanced my leadership skills but also has allowed me to work closely with the CIS leadership to help shape future goals for CIS. I participated in the CIS mentorship program and have picked up several career mentors (who are also CIS members) along the way. Through my CIS involvement, I have built lasting relationships and created new research collaborations. CIS has had a tremendous impact on my career in academic medicine, my research, and the clinical care I am able to provide my patients.
"I vividly remember my first CIS meeting. I truly felt like I had a home where I could talk about human immunology and hear about both autoimmunity and immunodeficiency. It was hugely empowering as a fellow to feel like I had found my community.
Over time, I have gone from being a pure consumer of meetings to a more active participant and finally became president in 2007. Clearly, I’m a lifer! One of the great continuing joys has been to be involved in the educational aspects of CIS. My mother was a passionate teacher of middle school science (cow eyes, meal worms!) so perhaps I was destined to be involved in education in CIS. Although I embrace all aspects of education in CIS, a particular pleasure has been to be a part of the CIS Summer School started by Charlotte Cunningham-Rundles in 2002. Beginning with the fifth summer school in 2007, I was able meet all the talented young people who became part of this CIS community, enriching it with new ideas and new perspectives. It has been both humbling and stimulating to see so much talent rising up within CIS"
"Diversity enhances our lives. However, barriers still exist which prevent us from enjoying the maximum benefit that diversity can bring. My experiences as an out, queer, first-generation, naturalized Filipino-American have enabled me to work closely with diverse populations, including immigrants, communities of color, LGBTQIA, and the incarcerated, in many settings. I’ve often felt that the different aspects of my identify were not represented in academia, professional organizations or my chosen field of clinical immunology.
However, when I joined CIS as a fellow in training, I was impressed by the fact that I saw others who shared various aspects of my identity at all levels of membership and leadership. I am fortunate that I have found diverse mentors and colleagues at CIS who celebrate and encourage diversity, and these experiences have helped me pay it forward to the next generation of clinical immunologists.
As co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, I am keenly aware of the continuing need to recruit, mentor, and encourage medical providers and scientists who are members of under-represented and marginalized communities, to remain in the field of medicine and biomedical research, including but not limited to clinical immunology. The CIS has made important inroads in addressing this talent gap by actively recruiting diverse participants in all aspects of its programming, by purposefully inviting speakers with varied backgrounds, and developing programs to address the needs of the diverse patient and constituent populations we serve.
Building a diverse CIS community will enable us to develop mutually respectful, culturally-competent relationships with our patients, research subjects, and their families, thereby facilitating high quality, compassionate care and research. We must all continue to work together to achieve these ideals in order to address the ongoing disparities in health and society at large."