Examining diversity in the AAO-HNS

February 2017 - Vol. 36, No. 01

Valerie A. Flanary, MD, Diversity and  Inclusion Committee Chair

diversityDiversity and inclusion, as well as cultural competency, are now well-known focuses in most organizations and institutions. Studies have proved that diverse work places and environments lead to increased productivity, creativity, and overall success in the workplace. Our Academy is striving to define our diversity and inclusion as well as create a strong element of cultural competency. Cultural competency can be defined as a set of behaviors, policies, and attitudes that allows cross-cultural groups to effectively work professionally in situations, ensuring individuals are competent to function on their own and within an organization where multicultural situations will be present.1

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee was established to investigate and improve diversity and inclusion within the Academy as well as to assist Members in becoming more successful in treating diverse patient populations. This past summer we surveyed our Members to determine our cultural competency as an organization. Unfortunately,  we had only a five percent response rate.  However, we do wish to share these results with our Members.

The following results are simply the beginning of our journey for diversity and improved cultural competency. With these results in mind, we will work on revising and resending the survey prior to the 2017 Annual Meeting, September 10-13, in Chicago, IL. Hopefully, the new results will help advance the Academy and improve our diversity, inclusion, and the understanding of its importance in the practice of otolaryngology.

Highlights of the 2016 Cultural  Competency in Otolaryngology Survey


  • 77% of respondents were male
  • 82% of respondents were white
  • 60% of respondents believe we are a somewhat diverse organization
  • 29% of respondents believe we are a very diverse organization
  • 10% of respondents believe the Academy is not diverse
  • 75% perceive the Academy to have adequate demographic representation
  • Less than 1% believe the Academy is not culturally competent


  • 46% of respondents have had some diversity training
  • 75% believe diversity and inclusion should be incorporated in medical school education
  • 50% believe that having a similar background helps the patient-physician relationship
  • 46% have participated in scholarly activity regarding health disparities
  • Less than 50% are likely to attend diversity or cultural training seminars or activities
  • Most respondents were willing to pay no more than $75 for a CME course on diversity

Full survey results can be reviewed at http://entconnect.entnet.org/viewdocument/cultural-competency.

Conducting this survey of the membership and sharing the results is only the first step in shaping an essential dialogue to drive greater diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence within our Academy. Please consider this information to further your engagement in the discussion to move us to the next phase of this crucial endeavor.


  1. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/cultural-competency.html