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

Representation and inclusivity are at the core of any strong community. I am committed to build a Department that is greater than the sum of its parts by fostering a community of faculty, students, fellows, and staff that are all contributing to inclusive and safe working and learning environments. Our major goal is to train not only world class scientists but also outstanding citizens.

These goals require constant work from all of us. In our research programs, we continuously need to learn, experiment, and adopt/create new technologies to be successful. We will use the same strategies to achieve our shared goal of creating an equitable, diverse, and inclusive Department.  I will be transparent about my efforts at increasing representation and inclusivity among all our constituencies and my desire to continually learn from you and others across the University.  As your Chair, I hope to earn the trust of everyone in the Department, reassure you that you are valued, that your opinion matters, and that you are participating in a working/learning environment that provides opportunities for your professional development.

I look forward to working with other leaders in the Department to ensure that this philosophy permeates all our activities and areas of our community. For instance, I will rely on our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee to coordinate programming to educate and build understanding among members of the Department, to enhance diversity through recruitment at all levels, and for outreach to the Durham community.

Duke Immunology will also engage 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 let me know. I can assure you that I will take your concerns seriously and address them in a professional and timely manner.

I look forward to working with you.



Office of Diversity and Inclusion


The IDEALS Office

Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity