Published: September 15, 2023

Above and Beyond

Three individuals will be recognized with the distinguished Above and Beyond Award at #OTOMTG23.

James C. Denneny III, MD,  AAO-HNS/F Executive Vice President and CEO

Our specialty and Academy are blessed with a loyal, engaged membership that generously donates hundreds of hours of their limited free time to participate in a wide range of Academy and Foundation activities and projects designed to advance otolaryngology and improve patient care. Our organization couldn’t operate without the hundreds of committee members sharing clinical expertise, elected and appointed leadership providing essential strategic direction, and the legion of presenters and speakers serving as expert faculty at our meetings all over the world.

On occasion within this group of volunteers, extraordinary individual efforts reach a level “above and beyond” the expected performance on critical needs of the specialty and organization and result in seminal changes that benefit all involved for the foreseeable future. The last several years have seen three such examples of extraordinary efforts causing game-changing results that will have a long-lasting impact for our organization and specialty. I will be presenting the new “CEO Above and Beyond” award at this year’s Annual Meeting & OTO Experience. The recipients of this distinguished award are the three individuals below who have put in countless hours to bring major projects to fruition.

Eugene G. Brown, MD, RPh

Eugene G. Brown, MD, RPhEugene G. Brown, MD, RPhEugene G. Brown, MD, RPh, has been an outspoken advocate for the private practice otolaryngology community for some time. He has been an active leader at the Large Group Executive Forum (LGEF) of the Administrator Support Community for ENT (ASCENT), an organization that shares innovative ideas and successful strategies effective for the day-to-day logistics of managing otolaryngology practices. Dr. Brown is proficient in analyzing the needs and challenges facing otolaryngologists in private practice, but more importantly he is an individual who is comfortable proposing and trying novel solutions.

Dr. Brown and his colleagues set up a successful multistate network of otolaryngology private practices. The insight gained from their experience has helped other practitioners around the country in the increasingly competitive healthcare delivery system. His group also started a yearly meeting focusing on all aspects of running a practice including clinical topics, ancillary services, practice management, and advocacy. I was fortunate to attend each of the yearly OASIS meetings and observed the significant benefits and networking opportunities the attendees receive. This model was the inspiration for the Academy’s new spring meeting format, which will debut in April 2024.

Dr. Brown’s persistent vision that the Academy needed to do more for its largest member constituency, private practice, culminated in an email to me on July 12, 2021, in which he described the desperate need for a more organized representation for private practitioners within the Academy. This act set off the cascade of game-changing events for private practitioners that led to the formation of the Private Practice Study Group (PPSG), which is currently transitioning to the Otolaryngology Private Practice Section (OPPS).

Marc G. Dubin, MD

Marc G. Dubin, MDMarc G. Dubin, MDIn his role as Chair of the proposed Private Practice Study Group (PPSG), Marc G. Dubin, MD, worked with his colleagues to set up a leadership team and define the goal and mission of the PPSG. He also prepared the required documentation that accompanied the request sent to the Executive Committee for the formation of the Study Group demonstrating the value and need the PPSG would provide to the membership. Once the PPSG was approved, Dr. Dubin spearheaded the establishment of a robust, active, and engaged ENT Connect community for the PPSG. Through his recruitment efforts, it resulted in a forum that has become the most popular of all the ENT Connect communities.

The PPSG has held regular discussions and webinars on key topics affecting the private practice community and has worked with ASCENT to become the most reliable source of valuable information needed by the Academy’s Advocacy team in efforts related to legislative, regulatory, and private payer issues. The tireless efforts of Dr. Dubin and the PPSG leadership team have provided the organization transformative data that has allowed more successful interaction in all areas of advocacy. Their responses to my requests for help in obtaining specific information requiring member input have all been completed within a week, often based on survey data. These results have been critical in establishing and supporting positions benefiting our specialty and patients.

The enthusiasm, energy, and production of the PPSG has been directly related to the extraordinary efforts of Dr. Dubin as he shepherded the initial study group to their eventual progression as a full Section status in 2023. The initial meeting of the Otolaryngology Private Practice Section (OPPS) will be held in Nashville at this year’s Annual Meeting & OTO Experience where Dr. Dubin will turn over the reins of OPPS to David E. Melon, MD, on Monday, October 2, 2023, at 4:45 pm (CT).

Andrew J. Tompkins, MD, MBA

Andrew J. Tompkins, MD, MBAAndrew J. Tompkins, MD, MBAAndrew J. Tompkins, MD, MBA, had developed a personal interest in the dynamics of the otolaryngology workforce over a multiyear period. This resulted in a good understanding of the dynamics of our specialty’s current situation as well as the type of information needed for a more thorough understanding and analysis. The Academy’s Workforce Committee was sunset in 2016 after years of relative inactivity. The importance of a deep understanding of the resources available as well as personnel needed to maximize quality care to patients with otolaryngologic diseases can’t be underestimated.

Dr. Tompkins contacted me in the fall 2021 and let me know what he had been working on and what he would like to do in terms of a formal Workforce Survey to assess our current situation. After listening to his proposal, I went to Ken Yanagisawa, MD, AAO-HNS/F President at the time, who appointed Dr. Tompkins Chair of the new Workforce and Socioeconomic Survey Task Force. A yearly survey was planned to allow longitudinal analysis of the data and recognize trends more accurately. The Task Force worked with consultants from the American Urologic Association (AUA) to create a survey instrument that was distributed in 2022 and completed by 1,800 participants. The Workforce Study of 2022 was the most complete and thorough report of its kind since 1975 as it identified a number of interesting trends.

Dr. Tompkins did a fabulous job leading the Task Force, but on top of that, he put in hundreds of hours of his own time making sure the survey was perfect. He also personally performed most of the analytics and worked with the AUA on the multivariant analytics that completed the assessment. The entire project would not have been completed on schedule without the incredible drive that Dr. Tompkins displayed to make this happen. The result is one of the most valuable documents the organization has produced in the last decade, which will greatly affect our specialty over the next decade.