History of Allergy and Immunology

The Department of Pediatrics Section of Allergy and Immunology was established in 2014. While the specialty’s clinical and academic programs had been met through collaboration with National Jewish Hospital, consolidation of Children’s Hospital Colorado and School of Medicine programs on the Fitzsimons campus ushered in new clinical, academic, and research opportunities and responsibilities. Regionally, the number of children requiring allergy-related care was climbing. Nationally, an increasing number of residents were seeking fellowships in the specialty. Then came a dynamic third factor: population health management as the future of pediatric care.

Initial Section Head Dan Atkins, MD, recalls an early conversation with Chair Stephen Daniels, MD, PhD, centering on population health, and how the new Section of Allergy and Immunology could improve patient outcomes by strengthening quality care coordination and patient engagement. “Steve outlined a three-phased development with the clinical program as the foundation. The second need was for an immunology program, given the many patients with immunodeficiencies that Children’s serves. Research would be built on top of that.” The translational research system already in place would allow findings to flow back to benefit children in Colorado and beyond.

The development strategy included a fourth component, that of the Department’s offering an accredited fellowship in Allergy and Immunology by 2018, four years from the new Section’s founding. It was achieved in two years, with the first fellows accepted in 2016.

Atkins credits exceptional multidisciplinary collaboration as a key driver for the relatively new section’s progress. “We see it like this: immunology is involved in every organ of the body. So we want to integrate ourselves with every area of care.” He adds, “There’s a buzz in the allergy and immunology community about what we’re doing.”

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