Celebrating 20 years of FOCIS

… isolation and balkanization of physician scientists with a keen interest in diseases associated with the immune system within their clinical societies.

Maria Grazia Roncarolo

Mark S. Anderson

This fall, the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) will be celebrating its 20th year anniversary, and here, we offer a brief commentary on its accomplishments and our aspirations for its future. As outlined elsewhere in this issue by Ifor Williams, the idea for a new immunology society was hatched in 2001 by our colleagues David Hafler and Garry Fathman who keenly recognized an urgent need to create a new hub for both clinicians and scientists with an interest in immunology and the treatment of immunological diseases. The need for such a reordering was apparent to many clinicians who traditionally have organized themselves by organ systems and their affiliated societies (i.e., endocrinology, oncology, cardiology, neurology, etc.). In many cases, this organizational system led to the isolation and balkanization of physician scientists with a keen interest in diseases associated with the immune system within their clinical societies. The idea was to create a new federation that served as an umbrella to bring together research groups from all areas of clinical medicine using immunology as its central tenet. To date, FOCIS includes 59 member societies from a broad array of perspectives and disciplines that participate in the key activities that FOCIS supports including the annual scientific meeting, educational courses, and a community of centers of excellence.

Over the past 20 years, it has become readily apparent that this vision has been a …