A Vision for the IAB: Reaching Young Otolaryngologists Around the World
As I start my term as the Chair of the AAO-HNSF International Advisory Board (IAB), I plan to focus more on bringing quality education resources to young otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons around the globe.
Prof. Muaaz Tarabichi, MD
International Advisory Board Chair
During the last 25 years of touring the globe, teaching, and advocating endoscopic ear surgery, I had the opportunity to see much of the world and meet some outstanding colleagues on every continent. I have to say that this experience really changed my view of the world and made me understand how similar we are as human beings and as otolaryngologists. I was particularly impressed with the upcoming generation of otolaryngologist and their commitment to improving their skills. It seemed not to matter where you travelled in the world—it was just as evident in resource-limited communities as it was in the most advanced societies.
This observation was a shared one with my lifelong friend Heinz Stammberger, MD, FRCS Ed(Hon), who I often met on these courses. We also observed that once you got young people together, they forgot about their differences. The shared learning mission becomes a basis for friendship and mutual cultural understanding. These experiences have shaped my view of the world and reformulated my life objective around finding ways to help the younger otolaryngologists, especially in resource-limited countries. It was also the founding principle of TSESI: Tarabichi Stammberger Ear and Sinus Institute. As I start my term as the Chair of the AAO-HNSF International Advisory Board (IAB), I plan to focus more on bringing quality education resources to young otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons around the globe.
The American otolaryngology community and its Academy are well positioned to foster and lead a global effort to reach out to the international community and help improve standards of care and education. The U.S. is a country of immigrants, and many American otolaryngologists have roots in other countries that are essential parts of who they are. The Academy membership is a huge pool of talented scientist-surgeons who can and should be accessible to the worldwide community. Technology further enhances our ability to communicate across continents, languages, and cultures without needing to be physically connected.
The IAB is the mechanism devised by the Academy to engage the international community. It also gives a voice for the international membership of the Academy. I plan to find ways to leverage the incredible education offerings of the Academy and expand their reach to a wider international audience to help advance patient care around the globe. Technology will allow us to reach out more easily and conveniently to practicing otolaryngologist everywhere. I also plan to build on the Academy’s Global Grand Rounds project.
I believe that the Academy’s Annual Meeting remains the main physical event on the calendar of every otolaryngologist around the world. The intensity and the scope of that event can not be reproduced anywhere. International participation, both in terms of audience and faculty, should be encouraged by making the international attendees feel part of the meeting not just guests of the Academy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that we live on a small planet and that we are all in this together. I was proud of how otolaryngologists immediately started communicating our experiences with most of us recognizing symptoms like loss of smell very early on through WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages. We also got early warning about how some of the surgeries that we do can turn into a super spreader event much earlier than other specialties. I think the IAB can formalize this communication by providing open forums on social networks.
For more information about the work of the IAB, visit the AAO-HNSF International Programs web page at https://www.entnet.org/get-involved/international-programs/.