Published: March 1, 2024

Common Threads and a Love of Otolaryngology

March is a banner month for the specialty and a time to stay engaged with the expansive efforts of the Academy.

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
March promises to be an exciting month for otolaryngology and the Academy as we celebrate a variety of accomplishments and special events meaningful to our future. Common threads of altruism, commitment, dedication, focus, and intelligence, as well as a love for otolaryngology by our colleagues make these and similar happenings possible.


Finishing touches are being placed on the inaugural OTO FORUM, one of the most anticipated events of the year that will bring a new level of sophistication and focus on areas critical to optimizing patient care through the latest information and trends affecting all aspects of modern-day otolaryngology practice. OTO FORUM, which is being held April 5–6, in Alexandria, Virginia, was patterned after OASIS, a regional meeting for private practice otolaryngologists, conceived and executed successfully by Eugene G. Brown III, MD, RPh. Discussions will revolve around practice size and structure; ancillary services with a deep dive into allergic management and services and hearing healthcare, including an in-depth look at the hearing aid industry; how real estate and ACS investment can be difference makers for practices; compensation model options; current status of medical malpractice; and a keynote address by Frank Opelka, MD, on “Healthcare Trends: Payment Reform and What Lies Ahead.”

This will be a fabulous event with the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions on key foundational practice tenets from your colleagues in the Otolaryngology Private Practice Section (OPPS) while also partaking in the Cherry Blossom activities in the Washington, DC, area. There are limited spots at this year’s OTO FORUM, so register now to ensure your participation. There will be 15 travel grants available for residents who are interested in private practice to attend. The OPPS is providing these grants, which are funded by an extremely generous $200,000 donation from Academy member and founding Vice-chair of the Private Practice Study Group, Mary T. Mitskavich, MD. Read more about Dr. Mitskavich in the profile article published in the March Bulletin.

Otolaryngology Core Curriculum

Our education team has been working overtime to produce the pilot modules for the new Otolaryngology Core Curriculum (OCC) that debuts July 1, 2024. Under the leadership of our Coordinator for Education, Meredith Merz Lind, MD, almost 100 volunteers populate the Module Development Team that is producing the topics requested by the Otolaryngology Program Directors Organization (OPDO) Editorial Committee. The first group of these modules will be ready this month for pilot testing in April. This project could not be successfully completed without the collaborative relationship between the academic community and the Foundation and our representatives, Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, and Jeffrey P. Simons, MD, MMM. The utility of this wonderful tool will reach well beyond resident education to practicing otolaryngologists and their staffs and to the international community.

Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs)

World Hearing Day is celebrated annually on March 3 to raise awareness relating to hearing loss, promoting better ear and hearing care, and advocating for action to further address hearing loss and related issues. This year’s theme is “Changing Mindsets.” Coinciding with this global health observance and advocacy event, the AAO-HNSF will soon be publishing our most recent CPG, Age-Related Hearing Loss (ARHL). Congratulations and sincere thanks go to our Guidelines Task Force (GTF), David E. Tunkel, MD, GTF Chair, and Betty Tsai-Do, MD, Chair of the ARHL Guideline Development Group, a team of volunteers and Foundation staff who produced this outstanding document and supplemental materials that will have considerable influence in the treatment of hearing loss globally.

The GTF continues to be an extremely productive and valuable asset for our specialty and also published the Clinical Practice Guideline: Immunotherapy for Inhalant Allergy in March in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Richard K. Gurgel, MD, MSCI, served as the Chair of the Guideline Development Group charged with publishing the CPG on this topic, which is so critical to the allergy practice of many of our members and their patients. Read more about this CPG in the March Bulletin article.The materials for both of these CPGs will be available on the AAO-HNS/F website.

Match Day and Sleep Awareness Week

The week of March 10–16 is a banner week for otolaryngology this year as we celebrate Sleep Awareness Week as well as both World Sleep Day and Match Day on March 15. This year’s theme for World Sleep Day is “Sleep Equity for Global Health.” It is essential to recognize how important sleep is to overall health and this year’s theme recognizes that there are measurable differences in access to and recognition of sleep disorders as a major health problem across populations throughout the world. The inequities that exist in sleep healthcare, just as in other areas and diseases, create additional burdens for both providers and patients in these situations. The first step to improving future care is recognition in attention to the needs of all.

I doubt many of the medical students applying for a residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery will be sleeping much on March 14 as they await the results of Otolaryngology Match Day that will be announced at noon (ET) on March 15. At that time, we will welcome around 370 new members to our otolaryngology family and congratulate them on the tremendous dedication and effort that it has taken over many years to reach this point. Hopefully, they will all participate in the Academy’s Match Day activities as they begin the next stage of their professional journey.

Indeed, March will be a great month!

More from March 2024 – Vol. 43, No. 3