Published: September 1, 2023

Marshaling the Energy and Enthusiasm for the Specialty’s Future

Exciting news of great importance to the stability and future value provided to the Academy’s membership over the next decade.

James C. Denneny III, MD AAO-HNS/F Executive Vice President and CEOJames C. Denneny III, MD
AAO-HNS/F Executive Vice President and CEO
Last month I introduced the Foundation’s revolutionary new education product, the Otolaryngology Core Curriculum, which will create an online modular curriculum covering the breadth of the otolaryngology specialty that is suitable to educate otolaryngologists at all stages of their career as well as additional healthcare workers they are trying to familiarize with the specialty.

This month I have some equally exciting news of great importance to the stability and future value provided to the Academy’s membership over the next decade. I received an email on July 12, 2021, from Eugene G. Brown, MD, RPh, in which he described the desperate need of private practitioners for a more organized representation within the Academy. Historically, that was the role of the Board of Governors established in 1982 after the separation from the ophthalmologists in 1978, a role that has progressively diminished over the last decade. This email triggered me to propose a plan that I had been working on for several months prior.

After discussions with leaders of the private practice community, I suggested that they collectively submit a proposal to the Executive Committee of the AAO-HNS Board of Directors to form a study group that could progress to a formal designation as an Academy section if the required goals were accomplished. The Private Practice Study Group (PPSG) submitted an action item to the Executive Committee in August 2021 that was unanimously approved. The PPSG was born and immediately began to reach out to the private practice community within the Academy to create its own ENT Connect community.

The PPSG chose an outstanding leadership group headed by Mark G. Dubin, MD, and immediately had one of the most active and engaged ENT Connect communities. They accomplished all of the requirements to become a section, other than the two-year timeframe, in three months.

Now two years later since their inception as a study group, the PPSG submitted a request to the Executive Committee to become the Otolaryngology Private Practice Section (OPPS). This action was approved at the Executive Committee’s regularly scheduled August 2023 meeting. The OPPS will hold its first Section meeting at the AAO-HNSF 2023 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience at 4:45 – 6:15 pm (CT), Monday, October 2, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Dubin and the Executive Committee of the PPSG did an extraordinary job of marshaling the energy and enthusiasm of the private practice community into the most active group I have seen during my career at the Academy. The OPPS will continue the PPSG’s invaluable contributions to private payer advocacy and practice management education that have strengthened the organization’s overall effectiveness significantly.

Even as we put the finishing touches on this year’s Annual Meeting, plans have been made to reimagine and reinvigorate our spring meeting. The Foundation employed a consultant, 360 Media, to review all of our meetings through a post-COVID-19 lens and make recommendations on ways to broaden interest and format our meetings to maximize the desired education topics and increase the sustainability of our meeting structure.

The spring meeting has suffered from stagnant attendance and difficulty in program planning over recent years. 360 Media recommended developing a program focused on desired content that is not offered by other competitors in the spring meeting space that would draw broader attendance as well as interest in industry sponsorship. These recommendations were proffered at a time when the PPSG was growing exponentially, both in numbers and activity level.

I had previously had the opportunity to participate in the OASIS meeting in South Carolina for several years. This meeting was built around practice management, ancillary income streams, optimizing outpatient care, and understanding current trends in healthcare delivery. This meeting was notable for the excitement and participation by attendees in the broad number of well-presented topics. Dr. Brown designed the OASIS meeting and successfully executed the meeting through a multistate network of physicians. After discussing this with Dr. Brown and many otolaryngologists, it became evident that this model could be converted to a national scale that would offer our members a different option in the spring designed to maximize practice outcomes through collaborative discussions and cutting-edge strategies.

We will reinstitute an in-person meeting format for the AAO-HNS/F 2024 spring meeting that will feature outstanding programming created by the OPPS focusing on topics critical to the practice of medicine for all otolaryngologists regardless of the practice structure they participate in. The meeting will take place April 5-7, 2024, in Alexandria, Virginia. The Board of Governors Spring General Assembly, including the President’s Forum will take place following the conclusion of the education portion of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. The Board of Directors meeting on Sunday will conclude the weekend. This footprint allows us to incorporate advocacy activities such as Hill visits into future meetings to further our advocacy needs.

It is not too late to make arrangements to attend this year’s Annual Meeting & OTO Experience in Nashville, Tennessee. The program is unmatched in otolaryngology, Nashville offers a vibrant entertainment venue, and we are estimating that there will be 5,000 of your friends and colleagues to network with. We look forward to seeing you there!