Published: November 20, 2023

Transition in Leadership for AAO-HNSF Education

Meredith N. Lind, MD, shares her vision in a Q&A with Jeffrey P. Simons, MD, MMM.

Jeffrey P. Simons, MD, MMMJeffrey P. Simons, MD, MMMDr. Simons: You have served on AAO-HNSF Education Committees for many years. How will your past experiences influence you in your new role as Coordinator for Education?

Dr. Lind: Like you, I am passionate about life-long education, and I am constantly learning about adult education. I have found my time working on several of the Education Committees, and then leading the Pediatric Otolaryngology Education Committee, to have provided some of the most rewarding experiences of my career, outside of patient care. I have learned so much in my previous Education Committee experiences and from working with you and your predecessor Coordinators of Education. I have loved seeing ongoing innovation in the creation and delivery of the AAO-HNSF education offerings. I have come to see the importance of identifying the different types of users of our education products and delivering diverse options for learners of varying backgrounds, experiences, and learning styles.

Dr. Simons: What priorities do you have for the next four years for the AAO-HNSF to advance otolaryngology education? 

Meredith N. Lind, MDMeredith N. Lind, MDDr. Lind: There is no doubt in my mind that the Foundation produces and maintains the best education materials for otolaryngology providers and trainees. To continue to provide and elevate this service across learners, it is critical that we also continue to listen to their needs and adapt the topics and delivery methods of the material that we provide. We will continue to seek the input of our members through focus groups, surveys, and direct contact with our users. In addition, I find that reading the ENT Connect Open Forum is a great place to find out what topics really engage our members. A big focus for AAO-HNSF in the coming years is the creation of the Otolaryngology Core Curriculum —a standardized, unified curriculum to support otolaryngology residents in training.

Dr. Simons: How is the AAO-HNSF positioning itself to meet the needs of 21st-century learners with innovative modalities?

Dr. Lind: During your tenure as Coordinator for Education, I was so impressed by the innovative approach that you and the AAO-HNSF Education staff took to the development of education content. Through FLEX you created a template for the creation of a multimodality learning platform that is personalized and interactive. I plan to use this blueprint as we develop and improve upon the Otolaryngology Core Curriculum. In addition, the AAO-HNSF has done an amazing job in incorporating simulation into so many of its education experiences. The partnership between the Education Committees and the Annual Meeting Program Committee has been invaluable in the proliferation of simulation offerings during the footprint of the Annual Meeting. I know that you had plans to create more online simulation modules in a “serious game” style that were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but I believe, like you, that this is an important part of the future of education. I feel that we can continue to develop and incorporate this style of learning in our FLEX and Otolaryngology Core Curriculum modules.

Dr. Simons: FLEX has been a major focus for the AAO-HNSF over the past few years. What are some of the aspects of FLEX that you like? How do you see FLEX evolving over the next four years?

Dr. Lind: A critical part of the delivery of adult education is the recognition that adult learners are incredibly diverse and that different learners benefit from different styles of education material. My favorite thing about FLEX is that while each module provides an up-to-the-minute deep dive into an important topic in otolaryngology, it is entirely customizable. Learners can consume all the modalities that make up each module or can choose those modalities from which they will benefit the most. In addition, the FLEX creation process is agile and synchronous, which allows the Education Committees to add resources in real time and tweak modality offerings to best serve our learners. Next steps will be to look at cumulative data over the past three years and work with users to help determine what is being highly utilized and what we can improve upon.

Dr. Simons: Resident education remains an important focus for the future of the AAO-HNSF education program,. and the AAO-HNSF is about to launch the development of a unified Otolaryngology Core Curriculum for residents. How will this new product meet the education needs of all residents in our specialty?

Dr. Lind: I feel incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to work with our partners in the Otolaryngology Program Directors Organization on the development and creation of the Otolaryngology Core Curriculum (OCC). The OCC has long been discussed and, through the hard work of a group dedicated to ongoing education improvement, is going to be developed over the course of the next two years, with the planned kickoff in July 2024. We believe the OCC will be an invaluable resource for trainees both domestically and internationally. The OCC will include 100 modules with both basic and advanced tracks that can be used by residents, programs, and members. While not meant to be a replacement for each individual program’s current didactic offerings, we do recognize that not all trainees have access to the same quality of teaching in all areas and believe that the OCC will provide an equitable baseline for all. In addition, the OCC will be delivered in the same multimodal fashion of FLEX, which will benefit individuals with a variety of learning styles. Once created, the OCC will undergo continuous review and improvement based on user feedback and additions to available medical knowledge and resources.

Final thoughts from Dr. Lind: I am thrilled to be taking the Coordinator for Education torch from you, Dr. Simons, and continuing to move the AAO-HNSF’s education mission forward. It is a great time to be working on the AAO-HNSF education curriculum for all stages of career. We have the privilege of creating the Otolaryngology Core Curriculum while continuing to develop and innovate our FLEX, simulation, and multitude of education offerings. I look forward to working with you, the AAO-HNS/F leadership and staff, and our members to recognize and adapt to their education needs. I would love to hear individually from Academy members about what the Education Committees can do to support these needs.

AAO-HNSF Recognizes Linda Lee for 25 Years of Service!

Linda LeeOn November 15, 2023, the AAO-HNS/F recognized Linda Lee, AAO-HNSF Senior Manager of Digital Learning Operations, for her 25 years of service to the AAO-HNS/F mission and vision and specifically to the ongoing education and certification of members. The Academy extends its sincere appreciation to Linda for her years of demonstrated commitment and service to members and the specialty.