Published: August 30, 2021

Reflections about a Presidential Year

As can be surmised from this quote, and the one to the right by Confucius, I believe that reflection is really important. My first reflection is what an incredible honor and privilege it has been to serve as your President.

Carol R. Bradford, MD, MS, AAO-HNS/F PresidentCarol R. Bradford, MD, MS
AAO-HNS/F President
“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” 

 – Margaret J. Wheatley

As can be surmised from this quote, and the one below by Confucius, I believe that reflection is really important. My first reflection is what an incredible honor and privilege it has been to serve as your President. We continue to experience remarkably tumultuous times. My term began at the conclusion of the Academy’s first ever fully virtual meeting. During the year, we bore witness to incredible sorrow as we observed the pandemic take far too many lives. We also experienced joy and hope as we saw the development of remarkably safe and effective vaccines in record time. While the Delta variant is posing challenges once again in what has been a roller coaster year, we remain confident that we will hold an in-person Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California, in early October. One of many significant lessons the pandemic has taught us is the value and importance of in-person human interaction. 

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."

 – Confucius

My reflections then take me to where I consider what we have collectively accomplished this past year. We launched a 125 Strong Campaign to shape our future together and created four key areas of investment in programs: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Education; Leadership Development and Mentorship; and Wellness. Next we launched a robust strategic planning process that led to three new areas of focus: Business of Medicine, Inclusive Diversity and Equity, and Wellness and Resiliency. The goal statement for the Business of Medicine initiative is for the AAO-HNS to be the leading advocate for legislative, regulatory, and payer issues for otolaryngologist in the United States. An important step forward in our objective to promote bidirectional communication of members’ needs is the formation of the Private Practice Study Group, as described in Dr. Denneny’s column and on page 13 in this month’s Bulletin. A heartfelt thanks for their leadership go out to President-elect Dr. Ken Yanagisawa and At-large Directors Drs. Eugene Brown and Bill Blythe for their dedication and leadership to make this new study group a reality. 

With the recognition that meetings are vitally important yet likely to be different in a post-COVID world, we have launched a Future of Meetings Task Force, chaired by Kathy L. Yaremchuk, MD. My most sincere thanks go out to Dr. Danny Chelius for his remarkable efforts in serving as our Annual Meeting Program Coordinator during the true evolution of meeting formats. Dr. Chelius and the Annual Meeting Program Committee deserve our appreciation for developing a program for our Annual Meeting that is truly innovative and exceptional. 

I am tremendously excited about the upcoming meeting and thrilled that we have a number of extraordinary keynote lectures. Dr. J. Nwando (Onyejekwe) Olayiwola, will deliver the John Conley, MD Lecture on Medical Ethics on an incredibly timely topic—Health Equity as the Bullseye of the Quadruple Aim: A Social and Moral Imperative. Dr. Neha Sangwan, CEO and founder of Intuitive Intelligence and author of TalkRx: Five Steps to Honest Conversations that Create Connection, Health and Happiness, will deliver her keynote on wellness for our community, specifically sharing knowledge and tools and providing inspiration for self-reflection, self-care, well-being, and resilience. These keynotes are well aligned with our Strategic Plan’s new areas of focus. 

I am so excited about the creation of the Hall of Distinction to recognize those pioneers who have left their mark on our Academy, our specialty, and each of us. Please join me in honoring our inaugural class of inductees on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 3:30 pm (PT), followed by a reception. I hope you can join me in a panel discussion with the inductees in attendance on the topic, “How Can the Past Inform the Future.” My sincere appreciation goes out to the Awards Task Force, chaired by Dr. Al Merati, for selecting this inaugural class of 12 worthy individuals. 

The work of the Academy never ends. Through the participation of countless committee volunteers and the chairs who guide them, the Academy continues to elevate its service to the global otolaryngology community for you, your practice, and your patients. I also want to personally thank Dr. Jim Denneny and all members of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors for their dedication and service. It has truly been a remarkable year. Thank you all for your support, your resilience, and your dedication to each other and to the patients, families, and communities we serve. It has truly been one of the highlights of my career to serve as your President. 

More from September 2021 – Vol. 40, No. 8