Change the World
Together, we are one.
As I return to my normal routine after an incredible experience at the AAO-HNSF 2023 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience in Nashville, Tennessee, I am struck by the power of our specialty to create positive change in the world around us. The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and its Foundation (AAO-HNS/F) harness amazing power to bring us together to change lives and communities both at home and abroad.
I attended the Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Section General Assembly in Nashville. More than 650 members gathered over lunch to witness a full program dedicated to advancing women in our specialty. Amy Y. Chen, MD, MPH, MBA, received the Helen F. Krause, MD Trailblazer Award, Shannon D. Fayson, MD, the Exemplary Senior Trainee Award, and Daniel C. Chelius, Jr., MD, was chosen for the He for She Award. Congratulations to each of the award winners for making a difference in our Academy.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to travel to Cartagena, Colombia, for the Colombian Association of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (ACORL) meeting. On March 3, I attended the first annual “Mujeres ORL ACORL” or “Women in Otolaryngology ACORL.” This breakfast meeting honored five trailblazing women who continue to pave the road for women to succeed in our specialty in Colombia. The moderator noted that the event was inspired by Colombian ENT surgeons who attended the WIO General Assembly the prior year at our 2022 Annual Meeting. The Academy’s WIO Section modeled a pathway for colleagues in Colombia to thrive and manifest influence in their association. Truly, WIO is changing the world.
Mark E. Zafereo, Jr., MD, the AAO-HNSF International Coordinator, works tirelessly on behalf of international colleagues to provide access to AAO-HNSF education resources and speakers for International Corresponding Society meetings all over the world, as well as to encourage international presentations at our Annual Meeting. He continues to build on the traditions set by Eugene N. Myers, MD, FRCS Edin (Hon), to honor our international friends in otolaryngology.
This year over 1,200 international otolaryngologists participated in the Annual Meeting in Nashville. The International Advisory Board General Assembly was well attended and featured a panel titled, “Cochlear Implants, Device Technology Developments and Establishing Worldwide Data Exchange.” The Eugene N. Myers, MD Global Education Fund was launched, and all attendees enjoyed the return of the International Reception. We look forward to meeting even more of our international colleagues in Miami, Florida, next year.
I attended the Harry Barnes Society Student Forum on Sunday, October 1. After a thoughtful and motivating presentation by Troy D. Woodard, MD, AAO-HNS/F President-elect), students were mentored and encouraged to pursue their dreams, to persevere difficult times in their individual journeys, and to believe in themselves. Each student left the room with the opportunity to seek continued mentorship.
The Board of Governors hosted a well-attended Student Speed Mentoring session on Sunday as well with amazing energy and enthusiasm noted in the student group and among the mentors. The American Neurotology Society sponsored an event that sent members out to high schools in underserved communities in Nashville. Simulation courses for students to encourage them to pursue careers in medicine were well received. Cristina Cabrera-Muffly, MD, Gregory W. Randolph, MD, Sarah K. Wise, MD, MS, Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, and Stacey T. Gray, MD, presented a panel titled, “Next Steps to Matching into Residency.” Students who attended were given clear suggestions and advice on how to make their application for otolaryngology residency stand out. Thank you to those who volunteered their time to open a world of opportunities to students from all backgrounds. Perhaps you changed the world of someone who will someday lead our Academy.
Albert L. Merati, MD, hosted the inaugural Crucial Conversation session, “Examining the Relationship between Otolaryngology Training and Our Field as a Whole: How Are We Doing.” Dr. Merati, Eugene G. Brown, MD, RPh, Andrew J. Tompkins, MD, MBA, Mark E. Whipple, MD, MS, Ronda E. Alexander, MD, Sarah N. Bowe, MD, EdM, and Dr. Gray, discussed the challenges in the residency selection process, the decline in exposure to private practice rotations for trainees, workforce issues, and opportunities to come together to optimize residency training in our field. Alan G. Micco, MD, chair of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Review Committee shared perspectives on potential roles for private practice in residency training in the future. By coming together as a specialty, we can clearly outline the challenges facing academic programs and enrich the training of our future colleagues. This very important discussion will continue next year in Miami.
Our Academy is not a building or a meeting, it is a group of people, gifted and trained in what I believe is the finest specialty in medicine. We come together to take care of patients with the best possible outcomes and with respect and dignity. Together, we are one. Together, we can change the world.