By Susan R. Cordes, MD
Chair, BOG Legislative Affairs Committee
Recently, I was watching a television show set during the reign of Louis XIV of France (1643-1715). King Louis XIV started bleeding and requested his physician. The next scene shows a gentleman at the physician’s home relaying the request and escorting her to the king. In those days, if you wanted to communicate with someone, you had to find that person and relay the message. It’s pretty safe to say that communication has come a long way, and much of that progress has been very recent. Our parents and grandparents dealt with cumbersome corded telephones and expensive long distance service, and just a generation or two removed, we carry not only a telephone but a computer with us everywhere we go. I have to remind myself sometimes that widespread internet use, mobile phones, and social media are all products of the last quarter of a century.
Next month, we celebrate World Voice Day, and while naturally the focus is on “Voice,” one cannot ignore the importance of “World.” Thanks in large part to ease of communication, everything we do/say/tweet has the potential to be on a global scale. Our Academy embraces the global nature of otolaryngology with a host of international programs. The International Steering Committee has regional directors responsible for communicating with International Corresponding Societies in every corner of the world. The newly formed International Advisory Board provides a structure and a voice for our valued international colleagues, and the Humanitarian Efforts Committee fosters volunteer otolaryngology in low resource settings. Any Academy Member interested in these or other international offerings is encouraged to learn about and participate in these programs.
Now more than ever, it is easy to connect with colleagues across the United States and across the globe. Involvement in international otolaryngology can be an enormously rewarding experience. It is exciting to share ideas and learn from our colleagues around the world. I personally had the good fortune to attend the All Africa ENT and Audiology Congress in Rwanda last year, which provided the opportunity to learn about otolaryngology across the African continent. This year, I look forward to the exciting International Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (IFOS) World Congress. Paris in June—what could be better than that!
The ability to communicate is a gift. The theme of this year’s World Voice Day is “Share Your Voice”. The Academy and the Board of Governors offer so many options for making your voice heard. Take a moment to explore those options and find the right medium for you. By using the tools we have at hand to share and connect with our colleagues in the U.S. and abroad, we demonstrate our appreciation for that gift. In the process, we are likely to grow as otolaryngologists and human beings in ways that we may not have imagined.