Published: May 1, 2024

All Together

This is a pivotal year for the Academy and the specialty as we continue to evolve, engage, and energize one another so that we can care for our patients and protect our specialty for future generations.

Doug And PatientGreetings everyone and welcome spring! Having now completed half of my term as your AAO-HNS/F President, I continue to be impressed with the number of collective hours members give to advance our specialty of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery in order to serve our patients and communities. This is a pivotal year for the Academy. As inspired by my patient in the photo, we can dream big and achieve when we are “all together.”

Due to the efforts of the Search Committee, we are in the final stages in the selection of a new Executive Vice President and CEO. As James C. Denneny III, MD, retires at the end of this year, we will have a new EVP/CEO to further our great programs and to take us in new directions as we continue to evolve. I will keep you updated as we make progress toward announcing a new leader for our organization.

Our 2024 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM in Miami Beach, Florida, will assume a new footprint, shifting the days of our four-day programming, starting at 8:00 am (ET), on Saturday, September 28, with the Opening Ceremony and then running until 1:30 pm (ET), on Tuesday, October 1. Daniel Chelius, Jr., MD, and Cecelia Damask, DO, are leading the effort to make the program valuable to all who attend. Outside of the education and scientific program and committee work, this annual reunion fosters opportunities for all of us to reconnect with colleagues and meet new friends in otolaryngology and their families. I look forward to seeing you there.

I attended the OTO FORUM on April 5 and 6. This meeting was the first of what I hope will be an annual offering to address leading-edge solutions for evolving issues and challenges in the business of medicine. Members of the Otolaryngology Private Practice Section (OPPS), led by Chair David E. Melon, MD, held sessions on topics ranging from healthcare consolidation, operational efficiencies, recruiting new partners, business intelligence, contract negotiations, and Mastermind Roundtables, which facilitated dialogue among attendees and faculty and covered a broad range of hot topics. In just six months as a section, the OPPS has energized our membership and continues to grow.

The Young Physicians Section (YPS) has hosted two virtual roundtables with incredible attendance at both. Chair Manan Shah, MD, and the YPS  Governing Counsel represent our members in the first eight years of practice and are now engaging with the Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training (SRF), led by Chair Hannah Kuhar, MD, to discern ways for the AAO-HNS/F to answer the question “Why the Academy?” for the early-career members who hold the future to our specialty.

I had the privilege of attending the introduction to the Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Section-sponsored Speed Networking event on April 18. This virtual event paired over 35 attendees with mentors who addressed different topics related to building and maintaining a rewarding, successful career in otolaryngology. Nausheen Jamal, MD, MBA, and Cynthia Wang, MD, hosted an informative and enriching evening of learning for all who attended. With 39.9% of residents in otolaryngology being women1, the leadership and career development role of the WIO Section is essential for our Academy.

Earlier this year, I asked the Board of Governors (BOG) to assume a greater role in advocacy and to re-invent core programs like Project 535 and the State Trackers program and to provide solid guidance for all of our 50 states to grow their state societies. Contributing in this way to legislative and regulatory advocacy will be key as we evolve through an election year. Karen A. Rizzo, MD, Immediate Past Chair of the BOG, hosted an inspiring President-Elect Candidates’ Forum at the OTO FORUM. If you did not see the debate live, please watch it online and be sure to vote for our next slate of officers when voting opens on Monday, May 13. Finally, Paul M. Imber, DO, hosted “Otolaryngology Call Compensation: What Is Fair?” a BOG-sponsored virtual panel on April 20. The Academy’s new Position Statement “Otolaryngologic On-Call Services,” which published in March 2024, was discussed, and great ideas were shared by panelists with questions from the attendees. Thanks to the BOG leadership and Executive Committee for their amazing dedication and creativity.

Bobby Mukkamala, MD, a solo private practice otolaryngologist from Flint, Michigan, and a Trustee of the American Medical Association (AMA), spoke eloquently at the OTO FORUM during the BOG Advocacy Hour on the power of organized medicine to uphold and protect our rights and opportunities as physicians/surgeons in an ever-changing healthcare space. Our Academy serves in this role for all of us and collaborates with the American College of Surgeons ([ACS], of which Dr. Denneny is a Regent), the AMA, and other national medical associations on key issues to serve and protect the collective needs of the house of medicine. I am excited that Bruce A. Scott, MD, a private practice otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon in Louisville, Kentucky, will be installed on June 11 as the next AMA President. Dr. Mukkamala is nominated for AMA president-elect and will learn in June if he will follow Dr. Scott as AMA President. Bruce and Bobby serve all of us in the broader physician forum. Thank you both and other otolaryngologists active in leadership at the ACS and AMA.

In a thoughtful Perspective in the Southern Medical Journal, David Goldenberg, MD, explores the term “provider” being applied to doctors, nurses, and all levels of healthcare staff.2 The word “doctor” is derived from the seventh century Latin word meaning teacher. “Physician,” coined in the mid-13th century CE, evolved from the Anglo-Norman and French term fesicien/physician, meaning “one who practices medicine.”3 I was asked by a congressional committee staff member when visiting Capitol Hill with our Academy Advocacy team last autumn, “What is the perspective of the healthcare ‘providers’ on insurance preauthorization?” My reply was, “You should ask them. I can give you my perspective as a physician-surgeon and otolaryngologist.” Surprisingly, the staffer was refreshed with my response.

As we enter the summer months, I reminisce about my medical school graduation: starting my residency at Baylor College of Medicine, moving to a new place, and starting a new phase of my life. Amid the nervousness and anticipation, I knew that the people I would meet and work with in otolaryngology would be great.

Welcome new residents and interns to our incredible specialty! For the rest of us, let’s continue to love and care for our patients and protect our specialty for future generations to enjoy and grow. We are “all together.” Together, we are one.


  1. “2023 Report on Residents.” AAMC. Accessed April 22, 2024.
  2. Goldenberg D. Words Matter: The Dubious Term "Provider". South Med J. 2023 Jul;116(7):535-536. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001573.
  3. OED Online, s.v. "physician, n.," accessed April 2024,

More from May 2024 – Vol. 43, No. 5