Published: October 26, 2021

Section Spotlight: YPS | The Path to Heroism in Healthcare

As we head into a new academic year, the YPS will continue to work with young physicians and the Academy to help all of us rekindle our initial love of medicine and patient care.

03 Yps Logo WebYi-Chun Carol Liu, MD, YPS Chair

Have you ever felt like a hero? I have. When I recited the Hippocratic Oath at my white coat ceremony, I could barely contain my eagerness to embark on my medical career and to have the opportunity to help others.

Yi-Chun Carol Liu, MD YPS ChairYi-Chun Carol Liu, MD
YPS Chair
So much has happened and changed since that day, but I and other physicians can still feel like heroes. As we head into a new academic year and I have assumed the Chair of the Young Physicians Section (YPS), I look forward to working with young physicians by identifying opportunities to enhance our career development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented health crisis faced by physicians. The disease has rapidly altered our interactions with patients, family, and each other. Medicine at its core depends on a great physician-patient relationship and rapport. The required personal protective equipment has created not only physical barriers, but also barriers to personal connections. 

The stress of the pandemic has reportedly led to more physician burnout and moral injury. Wendy Dean, MD, president and co-founder of Moral Injury of Healthcare, a nonprofit organization addressing the crisis of clinician distress, differentiates burnout from moral injury by defining moral injury as a phenomenon that “occurs when physicians are repeatedly expected to make choices that transgress their commitment to healing in the course of providing care.” 

Moral injury occurs because physicians are frustrated and cannot provide the care for which they trained due to factors outside their control. So how should we deal with moral injury? To remedy moral injury requires more than personal commitment from individual physicians; it requires leaders who are willing to confront the increasingly business-oriented and profit-driven healthcare environment to minimize competing demands.

As we head into a new academic year, the YPS will continue to work with young physicians and the Academy to help all of us rekindle our initial love of medicine and patient care. 

The YPS Programming Task Force is working on exciting and informative proposals for the AAO-HNS/F 2022 Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting and the AAO-HNSF 2022 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience. The virtual 2020 YPS General Assembly was honored to have Jennifer M. Heemstra, PhD, associate professor at Emory University, give an outstanding presentation, titled “FAIL is Not a Four-Letter Word: Why Success is More Likely When You’re Willing to Fail,” followed by a lively one-hour discussion. 

For the 2021 YPS General Assembly program, Maie St. John, MD, PhD, professor and Samuel and Della Pearlman Chair in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, co-director of the UCLA Head and Neck Cancer Program, and director of the UCLA Head and Neck Cancer Novel Therapeutics Program, presented her talk, “Leadership: Many Roads, Common Vision.” 

YPS will continue to encourage submissions covering a broad range of discussions and will continue to work closely with members to incorporate topics regarding the future of otolaryngology, healthcare, and public health policy into the Annual Meeting and Spring Leadership Forum.

Our Communications Task Force will continue to engage members on Facebook and ENTConnect to facilitate a community to share important announcements and up-to-date information. Four new YPS leadership podcasts have been developed that feature interviews with well-known department chairs sharing their philosophies and leadership styles; in other podcasts, prominent ENT leaders will present and discuss topics of importance to young physicians and their career development. 

As we continue to serve our community, I look forward to increasing opportunities to combat moral injury. As we reemerge from the pandemic, the YPS hopes to reengage with our at-large otolaryngology community. I am confident that under the Academy leadership and the continued support and willingness of the young physicians, we will have a great year ahead. After all, that is what “heroes” do. 

For more information, visit the YPS web page at

More from November 2021 – Vol. 40, No. 10