Allergy and Immunology

The Discipline

Allergy and immunology involves the management of disorders related to the immune system. These conditions range from the very common to the very rare, spanning all ages and encompassing various organ systems. Diseases typically seen by an allergist/immunologist (often referred to simply as an “allergist”) include:

  • Allergic diseases of the eye, such as allergic conjunctivitis
  • Respiratory tract-related conditions such as allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and occupational lung diseases
  • Gastrointestinal disorders caused by immune responses to foods, including eosinophilic esophagitis or gastroenteritis, and food protein-induced enteropathies
  • Skin-related allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, acute and chronic urticaria, or angioedema
  • Adverse reactions to foods, drugs, vaccines, stinging insects and other agents
  • Diseases primarily affecting the immune system, including primary immune deficiencies such as severe combined immune deficiency syndromes, antibody deficiencies, complement deficiency, phagocytic cell abnormalities, or other impairments in innate immunity and acquired immune deficiency
  • Systemic diseases including anaphylaxis and systemic diseases involving mast cells or eosinophils
  • Diseases associated with autoimmune responses to self-antigens, such as auto-inflammatory syndromes
  • Stem cell, bone marrow and/or organ transplantation

Allergists may practice in dedicated allergy-related clinical settings and frequently provide consultative services to other physicians and hospitals. Some allergists combine their subspecialized training with general internal medicine practice.


Allergy and immunology training programs are two years in length and may occur after completion of a three year categorical internal medicine or pediatrics residency training program. Board certification in allergy and immunology is available following completion of fellowship training.

Combined training in allergy and immunology and rheumatology is available as a three year program following completion of basic internal medicine residency training. Board certification in both allergy and immunology and rheumatology through the American Board of Internal Medicine is available following completion of this fellowship.

Training Positions

In the 2017-2018 academic year, there are 79 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited training programs in allergy and immunology with 307 trainees.

Major Professional Societies

  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
  • American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Back to the December 2017 issue of ACP IMpact