MIAMI (CBSMiami) — In this edition of Women To Watch, Trend Tracker® Tara Gilani shines the spotlight on a female role model and ground breaker.
Her name: Dr. Nancy G. Klimas. Her title: Professor and Chair, Department of Clinical Immunology and Director, Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine. Mouthful, yes! On top of all that, she is also a mother and a grandmother.
Klimas of Nova Southeastern University is a renowned immunology and chronic fatigue expert, researcher and professor.
Far from her labs, clinics or classes, Gilani met up with her at the Ritz Carlton South Beach, a beautiful respite befitting a ground breaker who is both brilliant and fun.
“The first 4 to 5 years, I was practicing medicine and they called “doctor,” I’d be going…who, me? Is the doctor here? Oh, that’s me,” said Klimas
At Nova Southeastern University, a hard-won $4 million grant is helping Klimas re-shape the future.
“I’m building this amazing, amazing research institute and clinical team together to work on really complicated problems. First problem we tackled is chronic fatigue syndrome which is also called myalgicencephlomitis. Say that seven times fast.”
Luckily for many, especially veterans, the doctor is in.
“I have patients with complicated medical illnesses particularly chronic fatigue syndrome but also patients with immune system disorders of various sorts so I see patients and I also see patients at the Miami VA Hospital with Gulf War illness and I run the Gulf War Illness research program there,” said Klimas.
Gilani asked the good doctor, “Do you think doctors discount females more than they do males?”
Klimas’ answer was swift and sure,“Yes. Oh please, yes. I’m going to say that only because I spent the last 30 years taking care of women that had to go through dozens of doctors to get someone to take them seriously.”
Gilani asked if Klimas for advice, saying “What do you do? Do you we try to find a woman doctor?”
Klimas responded, “I think women doctors are more likely to believe you when you say something’s wrong . There are plenty of great male doctors. The main point there is to believe yourself and if you think you walked away and didn’t get good care, you probably didn’t get good care.”
The loving doctor is also a loving mother to three girls and a grandmother to one.
“My family definitely trumps all else. I love my family. I’m a new grandmother this past year. I am insanely besotted with this beautiful little one year old, Caliope.”
In her spare time, Klimas builds kayaks. Yes, kayaks.
“It’s fun it’s so pretty. It comes together, delayed gratification. I spent 35 years coming up with solutions to these horrible diseases. One hundred work hours later and you got a kayak. I get to paddle it around. Fabulous,” said Klimas.
Gilani and Klimas talked about the future and the next generation.
“Legacy comes in two flavors. Just like life. Your family and your work. So the legacy’s there. The family’s there. This institute that we built at Nova has been fantastic. That’s gonna be a legacy. That’s going to be very good,” said Klimas.
Dr. Nancy Klimas, from the heart, answered the Trend Tracker®’s round of questions: I am, “strong.” I want, ” to complete my work.” I will, “find the answers that I’ve been seeking.” I wish, “that young women starting their careers have the types of opportunities that I’ve had.”
Gilani ended their session with a hug and a toast: “For all you do, thank you. Cheers Dr. Nancy Klimas – Woman To Watch!”