Spring is here: Speak up!

April 2017 - Vol. 36, No. 3

Daniel L. Wohl, MD
BOG Member-at-Large

Communication is a cornerstone of civilized society. Among all the medical specialties, our training uniquely qualifies us to be experts in the essential components for verbal human interaction. We learn about laryngeal function, the nasal and pharyngeal resonance chamber, and the importance of tongue movement. But, voice production is not an isolated variable in verbal communication. Our superb training in peripheral and central auditory physiology equally informs us of the importance of integrating auditory health with speaking skills. We need to hear in order to process aural information so we can understand and then produce articulate feedback.

As the experts on speech and hearing, who then is better positioned to promote both World Voice Day (WVD) on April 16 and the month of May as Better Hearing and Speech Month? Both programs offer the opportunity to promote awareness of hearing and speech problems. Assuring maintenance of hearing and speech, the two essential components of verbal communication, helps improve our patients’ quality of life. Let’s make a concerted effort this year to broadcast our support. Tell your patients, write an article in your local paper, schedule a lecture, or simply put up an informative flyer in your office.

Time to vote

April is the month when voting season begins with publication of the AAO-HNS/F candidates’ statements. We have a very democratic process to select our leaders, as we have a Nominating Committee comprised of colleagues elected by us who come together, discuss at length, and then arrive at a slate of candidates for President-Elect, Audit Committee, Director-at-Large, and the next year’s Nominating Committee. I encourage you to read all of the candidate statements. Who we elect makes a difference. Decide who you would like to see serve in those positions and then vote.

Tell the BOG

Finally, I would like to encourage each of you to consider participation in the Board of Governors (BOG). The BOG serves as a voice for all the members of our Academy. We do our best to represent your interests through a network of state and local governors, legislative representatives, and socioeconomic and grassroots representatives, as well as representatives from our specialty societies. Certainly, the BOG serves to disseminate information on Academy initiatives that impact our professional endeavors. The BOG’s strength, however, actually comes from listening to the voices of all of our members. This year, we want to better connect with our grassroots general membership. This process will start with the BOG itself and extend through our national team of regional representatives who will connect with state and local societies in order to provide equal access to any AAO-HNS member with something to say. So, when you are approached, please don’t turn away. Speak up. Communicate. The Academy and its BOG are listening.