Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“Her impact, especially in the field of anaphylaxis, has saved many a life.”

© Steve Tracy and CMHF
2017 Inductee

F. Estelle R. Simons, MD

April 26, 1945 (Vancouver, British Columbia)
MD (Honours) (1969), University of Manitoba
Allergies are one of the most common causes of chronic illness. For many, quality of life is negatively affected, while for others risks of exposure can mean severe or even fatal reactions. Dr. Estelle Simons, a clinician scientist, is internationally renowned for research on the pharmacologic management of allergic diseases, including anaphylaxis and asthma. Early in the allergy epidemic, she led an interdisciplinary team that conducted landmark investigations to establish the scientific basis for use of new medications that have since become safe and effective treatment for allergic diseases worldwide.

With colleagues in immunology, Dr. Simons elucidated important mechanisms of human interactions with the environment that lead to allergen sensitization and allergic disease, and investigated new approaches to immune modulation.

Many of her 570 peer-reviewed publications are widely cited. She has also edited or co-edited eight textbooks, including the major reference textbook Middleton’s Allergy: Principles and Practice. She has given more than 300 invited research presentations at major congresses, universities, and research institutes on six continents.

Over four decades Dr. Simons played an important role in building the specialty of Allergy & Clinical Immunology nationally and internationally by serving as Chair of the Clinical Immunology Specialty Committee of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, President of the Canadian Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, and President of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. During a 15-year commitment to the World Allergy Organization, she served several terms on the Board of Directors and chaired international research and education initiatives on anaphylaxis.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Simons has ­­­­received more than 50 major awards and honours, including the Canadian Medical Association Medal of Service, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology Distinguished Clinician Award, and the World Allergy Organization Scientific Achievement Award.

Her dedication to scholarship, innovative research, education, and knowledge translation have helped transform allergic disease management from empiricism to science.  Her achievements have helped to mitigate the impact of the global allergy epidemic and alleviate suffering worldwide.