Mission Statement

Our Core Values

In 2020, members of Duke Immunology came together to discuss issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion, with the goal of taking active steps to create a training and working environment that values and supports all in our department. We believe that a shared vision is required for us to be able to create plans that will drive structural changes. In order to help clarify and guide this vision, we have taken time to reflect on and identify the core values of the Immunology Department. 

The Immunology Department is comprised of people from a diversity of backgrounds and life experiences. We believe that diversity makes us stronger as a group and as individuals, because each person’s distinct perspective catalyzes creative problem-solving.  We strive to actively build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community through recruitment, retention, and training of underrepresented minorities and historically marginalized populations in the STEM fields. Furthermore, through outreach in the Durham community, we strive to inspire students to join the next generation of scientists.

We aim to cultivate a safe learning and working environment in which each member of our community is supported and empowered to learn and achieve.  We are acutely focused on providing opportunities for personal and professional development of all members of our community. In addition to scientific training, we are also committed to educating members of our community on issues such as implicit bias and micro-aggression. We unequivocally assert that there is no place in our department for harassment or discrimination against any person or group for any reason.

We will improve by identifying problems, by learning from and reflecting upon our missteps and failures, by holding each other accountable for our actions based on our goals and stated values, and by fostering a culture that supports open and transparent communication across all levels of the department.


Message from the Chair

- Raphael Valdivia, PhD

As chairman, I am committed to fostering a diverse, open and inclusive working and learning environment in which faculty, students, fellows and staff are all engaged. I strive to be fair and respectful to all and to cultivate the trust of everyone in the Department of Immunology. It is my goal that everyone understands that they are valued, that their opinion matters, and that they are participating in a working/learning environment that provides opportunities for their professional development. I collaborate with other leaders in the Department to ensure that this philosophy permeates all of our activities and areas of our community.

To this end, I have empowered a standing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee to provide programming to educate and build understanding among members of the Department, to enhance diversity through recruitment at all levels, and to support the Durham community. Duke Immunology also works closely with two important offices within the School of Medicine: the IDEALS office, which works to enhance the recruitment and educational experiences of talented underrepresented trainees; and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which coordinates strategic planning on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion that touch everyone in the School of Medicine.

My door is always open. If you have concerns about instances in which we fail to live up to our stated goals, please feel free to talk to me. I can assure you that I will take your concerns seriously, address them in a professional manner, and protect you from any negative consequences of coming forward. 

I look forward to working with you.


Office of Diversity and Inclusion


The IDEALS Office

Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity