Kenneth W. Altman, MD, PhD

April 2017 - Vol. 36, No. 3

Q: What are your priorities for fiscal responsibility in the present economy? What non-dues revenue stream, current or proposed, do you plan to optimize to help improve the financial status of the Academy?

Kenneth W. Altman, MD, PhD

It is my great pleasure to be considered for election as Secretary/Treasurer-Elect. This position serves the important roles of guiding a proposed budget, overseeing administration of our general funds, and serving as a critical conduit between the Executive Committee, directors, and the Finance Investment Subcommittees (FISC). Most importantly, it is to represent the varying interests and concerns of our general membership. And in my 24 years as a member since starting residency, I’ve come to appreciate that our specialty is stronger as a result of our Academy’s efforts.

It starts with being a responsible shepherd of your dues and registration fees for the Annual Meeting of the AAO-HNSF. On the expense side, we’ve managed to retain a core group of devoted high-performing administrators, while reserving non-employed consultants only for specialty needs. Our physician leadership is strictly volunteer, with the exception of the executive vice president. And the Academy has been quite conscious of Annual Meeting costs by choosing appropriate locations to get the best exposure at the lowest cost. But we also have a forward-thinking strategy to position ourselves with strong footing, despite the challenges of healthcare reform and re-reform. As treasurer of the American Laryngological Association beginning after the stock-market crash of 2008, I helped manage an austerity plan to include innovation and an investment in growth, whose results I’m enjoying this year as president. Part of this success was also seen under my past service as secretary/treasurer of the New York Laryngological Society, where my working knowledge and amicable style helped rejuvenate and modernize both organizations. As chair of the Audit Committee, I’ve also led our Academy efforts to ensure that our financial status was aligned with our strategy. Building our unity, sensible management of our finances, and a consistent investment in our future is the most responsible approach to our long-term success.

We’re well past the days of large industry sponsorships and cost shifting large medical reimbursements to fund a grassroots volunteerism in our profession. But I would promote the idea that now is the time for us to pull together to make otolaryngology stronger than ever. Our growing membership and younger generation of talent represents untapped human capital that can further energize our Academy and create innovation in ways that our existing leadership may not even imagine yet. We’re also on the precipice of helping to establish evidence-based best practice globally, and this effort has certainly benefitted from our international members and conference attendees.

I’ve been privileged to have many models of excellence during my career and consider support from my family at home (my wife, four boys, and two dogs) as critical to bringing a sense of warmth and insight to my professional family at work and the Academy.