Junior Member News - September 2013

  By Sylvia Sánchez-García, MD
  Co-Chair, WAO Junior Members Group



During the recent WAO-EAACI Congress in Milan, a Junior and Affiliates Educational Session took place, chaired by Dr. Santos and Dr. Sokolowska.  Dr. Cezmi Akdis, from Switzerland, talked about the “Mentorship Programme: How to make the most of this opportunity” and Dr. Pascal Demoly lectured about “How to best combine clinical practice with research”.

Prof. Ronald van Ree described to us the key of “How to be an effective leader”. He taught us about the best effectiveness in leadership by explaining, advising and assisting everyone’s need in the team. With funny and graphic samples, he showed us that a leader must be full of excellence together with modesty, capitalizing their strengths and not hiding weaknesses. A research leader should be looking for employees with differences in capacities and ambition in order to create strong and stable teams. After his lecture, all of us understood that a good leader should be someone honest, admitting his/her mistakes and with social compromise.

To close the session, Prof. Ruby Pawankar talked to us about “Gender and diversity considerations for worldwide allergy”. This was an emotive and full of surprises lecture. Apart from learning the unmet needs in allergy nowadays, such as the lack of resources for research, diagnosing and training Allergy, we discover that she, herself, is a descendant of a true-pioneer woman in the field of the medicine! She explained, in a concise way, that excellence in allergy can be met when clinical practice and research, involving and training young allergists are combined. She highlighted the importance of networking internationally, sharing the knowledge and avoiding being intellectually selfish. In a global and XXIst century world, she reminded us of the challenges a woman do still face. She stood out that promotion and recognition should be based on merit and not based on gender. She said it is important to have a big vision and pursue it. She talked about the abilities and skills a woman can show, but simultaneously she demonstrated it in person, not only during the session but also by leading talks, sessions and meetings throughout all the congress!

Prof. Van Ree reminded us in his lecture a famous phrase from Groucho Marx: “Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men – the other 999 follow women”. This must be true. But even less women are capable –or have the opportunity- of being a leader of men and women. That´s why female allergists from all around the world should be proud that the World Allergy Organization leader is indeed a woman.

I would like to thank Prof. Van Ree and Prof. Pawankar for their availability and help by allowing me to access to their presentations.