Published: October 27, 2021

The Specialty Is Reconnected at #OTOMTG21

The specialty reunited in early October for the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO Experience held both live in Los Angeles, California, and virtually.

Presidents Reception 4The specialty reunited in early October for the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO Experience held both live in Los Angeles, California, and virtually. After more than 18 months, around 2,000 professional in-person attendees had the chance to reconnect, honor the 125th anniversary, and attend groundbreaking education sessions.

During the evening of October 2, in the open-air venue of Xbox Plaza, on a beautiful California evening, Carol R. Bradford, MD, MS, now the AAO-HNS/F Immediate Past President, welcomed attendees during the Presidents’ Reception of the Annual Meeting. The event represented the return to the in-person meeting, something sorely missed over the last 18+ months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Opening Ceremony: Live from LA

Oc 3 Covid Presidents

“There continues to be high levels of collaboration within our specialty as evidenced by the combined Presidents' Reception honoring current and Past Presidents of the Academy and specialty societies, and the bi-annual Specialty Unity Summit that continues to work on issues common to the specialty. At the top of that list is the future of scientific meetings in the post-COVID Era. We really need each other, so we can all succeed.”

James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F Executive Vice President and CEO, made a special tribute to Duane J. Taylor, MD, Past President; Dr. Bradford; and Ken Yanagisawa, MD, now President, for their tireless efforts during these trying COVID-19 times for healthcare. “I would like to salute Dr. Duane Taylor and Dr. Carol Bradford for their exceptional leadership during the last two years and Dr. Ken Yanagisawa who will be taking over as our third COVID President.”

Dr. Bradford expressed heartfelt remarks about her Presidential Citation awardees, Gregory T. Wolf, MD, Dr. Denneny, and David Bradford. This was followed by the ceremonial presentation of the President’s medallion to Dr. Yanagisawa and the Past President’s gavel and pin to Dr. Bradford.

The Opening Ceremony wrapped up with an interactive keynote presentation from Neha Sangwan, MD, titled “Self-Care in Healthcare,” in which she outlined practical and powerful tools to prevent burnout.

“The pandemic has surfaced issues that have been simmering in healthcare for decades. Our training has taught us to sacrifice our own well-being as a noble act in service to our patients. This can no longer be an either/or, it must be both AND—as a powerful, smart group, we are very capable of collectively figuring out what it will take to both take care of ourselves AND our patients.”

AAO-HNS/F Celebrates 125 Years at #OTOMTG21

125 Museum (4)

This Annual Meeting was particularly special because it marked the 125-anniversary celebration of the Academy with several special elements planned for attendees that highlighted such a commemorative year. 

Legacy of Excellence, which documents the Academy’s contributions to otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and medicine over the past 25 years, was provided free to Academy members and available for purchase for nonmembers and members who wanted to purchase another copy in Los Angeles. Read more about this sequel to Century of Excellence on pages 14-15 and how to get your copy.

The Annual Meeting also presented attendees with the opportunity to further explore the Academy’s rich history in the 125th Anniversary Legacy of Excellence Museum. From this exhibit located in the center of the Los Angeles Convention Center, attendees could view a sampling of artifacts from the John Q. Adams Center for the History of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery housed at the Academy’s headquarters–including some original artwork from Chevalier Jackson, MD, from 1939! It became quite the popular spot for group pictures and memorializing the occasion. 

Hall of Distinction Inaugural Class Is Recognized 

Hod Setzen Speaking

Another highlight of the Annual Meeting was the special recognition of the inaugural class of the Hall of Distinction that included a moderated Panel Presentation by Dr. Bradford with six of the current inductees.

02 Hall Of Distinction Logo (1)The distinguished panel featured M. Jennifer Derebery, MD; K.J. Lee, MD; Eugene N. Myers, MD, FRCS Edin (Hon); James L. Netterville, MD; Gavin Setzen, MD; and Gayle E. Woodson, MD, who took turns providing their perspectives of the following question posted by Dr. Bradford: How does the past inform the future of otolaryngology? (Dr. Derebery and Dr. Woodson joined the panel virtually via a prerecorded message.)

The panel discussion was followed by the presentation of the Hall of Distinction award to the recipients and a reception that included a book signing of the Legacy of Excellence commemorative book by the Past Presidents in attendance. To read more about each panelist’s thoughts on the posed question, go to

Science Takes Center Stage at #OTOMTG21

Posters (1)

One tradition that was maintained and even further enhanced with new programming at the Annual Meeting was the cutting-edge scientific presentations that filled the schedule. Featuring 220 oral sessions and 500 scientific poster presentations, Daniel C. Chelius, Jr., MD, AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting Program Coordinator, and the Annual Meeting Program Committee, presented attendees with a plethora of education opportunities covering the spectrum of the specialty.

“Our presenters come from throughout the field,” Dr. Chelius said. “From academia, and private practice, from world-renowned basic science labs and rising translational research programs, from large research hospitals and small underserved clinics. Our oral session moderators are leaders in their fields and include many of the Academy’s leaders in education and research.”

In addition to the mainstay sessions and activities that attendees look forward to every year, such as the guest lecturers, the Academic Bowl, SIM Tank, and more, added to the program this year were the Great Debates, the ENTrepreneur Faceoff, and special EVP/CEO sessions spotlighting wellness and resiliency as it relates to diversity and inclusion, the pros and cons of various types of physician employment models, analysis of the changes to day-to-day practice models resulting from the COVID-19 virus, and review of scientific and research updates on potentially game-changing, new, and innovative technologies in otolaryngology. 

OTO Experience: New Exhibitors, Hands-on Approach

Oto Experience 2

In addition to the new exhibitors, the 125th Anniversary OTO Experience featured exhibitors who hosted hands-on demo labs in their meeting rooms as well as product demonstrations and Thought Leadership Series in the OTO Theater and the Corporate Satellite Symposium at the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live. The Industry Thought Leadership Series included key opinion leaders from the Academy’s industry partners who debated, shared science, and hosted live town hall-style events to answer attendee questions. The Symposium featured new product announcements, science, and demonstrations. Also essential to the OTO Experience was the inclusion of the display of Scientific Posters that were featured both in-person and online.

Next Stop: Philly!

As the scheduling came to a close in LA, both staff and attendees were already discussing plans for the next AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO Experience in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 10-14, 2022, with the theme, “Forward Together.”

For coverage from the Annual Meeting, go to the Meeting Daily Meeting News Central website at

Oto Meeting Collage Web

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