Published: February 1, 2024

Strength in Autonomy, Power in Collaboration

The four Sections and BOG represent specific constituencies yet bring power to our membership through collaboration. Together they keep the Board of Directors informed and help guide the direction of our Academy.

Douglas D. Backous, MD AAO-HNS/F PresidentDouglas D. Backous, MD
AAO-HNS/F President
I have been asked the question: “With over 14,400 members practicing in diverse environments and styles, how can the AAO-HNS identify relevant ways to meet the needs of individual physicians?”

Our four Sections and the Board of Governors (BOG) are designed to optimize representation of all members to our Board of Directors (BOD) and staff and serve as a bidirectional conduit back to their constituents.


Established in 2023 after starting as the Private Practice Study Group, the Otolaryngology Private Practice Section (OPPS) advises the BOD on the unique needs of private practitioners in our specialty, focuses on the business of medicine and identifies local payer issues, and works with the private practice advocacy staff to overturn unfair policies. The OPPS has a nonvoting seat on the BOD.

The OPPS is open to all non-retired members, who are in good standing within the AAO-HNS and not employed by an academic institution. Officers include Chair David E. Melon, MD, Chair-elect Annette M. Pham, MD, Immediate Past Chair Marc G. Dubin, MD, Business of Medicine Committee Chair Daniel R. Gold, MD, Resident and Fellow Outreach Committee Chair Melanie W. Seybt, MD, Treasurer Mary T. Mitskavich, MD, and Secretary G. Lee Bryant, MD. I am excited to attend the OTO FORUM on April 5-6, in Alexandria, Virginia. During the OTO FORUM, the BOG will host an Advocacy Hour and the AAO-HNS Candidate Forum on Saturday, April 6. Learn more about OPPS.

The Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training (SRF) represents the future of otolaryngology and advises the BOD on issues important to trainees in our specialty. Together with the Young Physicians Section (YPS) they work to ensure our direction in the Academy is relevant to younger and early career members. The SRF has a nonvoting seat on the BOD.  Representatives of the SRF serve on Academy and Foundation committees and Task Forces and are major participants in the CORE research program and as trainees to become reviewers for the AAO-HNSF journals, Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and OTO Open. The leadership of the SRF includes Chair Hannah Kuhar, MD, Chair-elect Mark A. Fadel, MD, Immediate Past Chair Jake Lee, MD, Member-at-large Madison V. Epperson, MD, Information Officer Sarah Sussman, MD; BOG Governor Pauline Phoung Hunyh, MD; and BOG Alternate Governors Kayla Brittany Hicks, MD, and Sarah M. Russel, MD. Learn more about SRF.

The Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Section, founded in 2010, advises the BOD on issues relevant to women in our specialty. With over 2,400 members, the WIO provides opportunities for leadership, education, career development, and mentoring. Four of the last nine presidents of the AAO-HNS/F have been members of the WIO. They maintain a virtual leadership library, award annual grants from the WIO Endowment, and host the WIO General Assembly at the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting, averaging over 800 attendees each year. The WIO Helen F. Krouse, MD Trailblazer, WIO Exemplary Senior Trainee, and WIO He for She Awards are given at the annual General Assembly. Elected leadership includes Chair Yelizaveta Shnayder, MD, Chair-elect Valerie A. Flanary, MD, Immediate Past Chair Minka Schofield, MD, Financial Officer Kelly Michele Malloy, MD, Information Officer Meha G. Fox, MD, and Members-at-Large Reena Dhanda Patil, MD, and Amy Y. Chen, MD, MPH. The WIO has a nonvoting seat at the BOD. Please explore the vast opportunities to get involved with the WIO.

The Young Physician Section (YPS) advises the BOD on issues important to physicians under age 40 or in the first eight years of professional practice after residency or fellowship. The YPS focus on engaging younger members in the Academy, from all demographic groups, is essential to the long-term development of the AAO-HNS. One of the most important functions of the YPS is to help younger physicians obtain the tools and information to successfully transition to independent practice of all types (academic, employed, and private). In turn, they send back the needs and suggestions to the leadership of the organizationThe YPS has a nonvoting position on the BOD. Elected leadership includes Chair Manan Shah, MD, Chair-elect James C. Wang, MD, PhD, Immediate Past Chair Nikhila Raol, MD, MPH, Member-at-Large Prasanth Pattisapu, MD, MPH, Secretary Isabel Fairmont, MD, and Nominating Committee Dennis M. Tang, MD, and Kristan P. Alfonso, MD, lead this important pillar of our Academy. Learn more about YPS initiatives.

Board of Governors

The Board of Governors (BOG), established in 1982, is composed of local, state, and national medical societies from around the United States and Canada. Leadership includes Chair Steven T. Kmucha, MD, JD, Chair-elect Cristina Baldassari, MD, Immediate Past Chair Karen Rizzo, MD, Secretary Yolanda L. Troublefield, MD, JD, Member-at-Large Eileen M. Raynor, MD, Chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee Anne Maxwell, MD, Chair of Governance and Society Engagement Committee Soha Ghossaini, MD, and Chair, Socioeconomic and Grass Roots Committee John Werning, MD. The BOG is charged with maintaining the above-mentioned components and using them as resources to build state and local advocacy programs, leading the AAO-HNS Project 535 and State Tracker programs, organizing state societies, and assisting in advocacy education and leadership training. They have three voting seats on the BOD and two seats (1 vote) on the AAO-HNS Board Executive Committee. I look forward to the Virtual BOG Spring Meeting on April 20. Learn more about the BOG.

These four Sections and BOG maintain strength in their autonomy to represent specific constituencies yet bring power to our membership through collaboration. Together they keep the Board of Directors informed and help guide the direction of our Academy with the goal of serving every member. Together we are one.