International Advisory Board: Strengthening the global otolaryngology community

February 2018 – Vol. 37, No. 1

Johan Fagan, MD
Chair, International Advisory Board

Member Ta Ju Liu, MD, from Paraguay, and guest, Edwin Liyombo, MD, from Tanzania, found networking to be a real event benefit.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) has an important responsibility to reach out internationally to improve the quality of otolaryngology practice, including in less-privileged countries. There are many outstanding examples of such  outreach activities:

  • My mentor, Eugene N. Myers, MD, and others have crisscrossed the globe for decades to teach and train fellow otolaryngologists and to build bridges between the AAO-HNS and the rest of the world.
  • James L. Netterville, MD; James E.  Saunders, MD; Mark E. Zafereo Jr., MD; Susan R. Cordes, MD; Gayle E. Woodson MD; and many others have made important contributions to improve otolaryngology practice through teaching and training otolaryngologists, principally in developing countries.
  • The Annual Meeting & OTO Experience attracts thousands of otolaryngologists from outside the United States, where they are afforded the opportunity to learn, contribute, exchange ideas, network, and establish friendships with colleagues from across the globe.
  • Otolaryngologists, trainees, and professional societies all over the world consult AAO-HNSF clinical practice guidelines.
  • The opportunity to exchange ideas through its 68 International Corresponding Societies (ICS) and at the Regional Caucus Meetings, held at the Annual Meeting.
    • Drs. Fagan and Myers enjoyed the excitement among attendees from many International Corresponding Societies (ICS) during the Annual Meeting.

      To further improve meaningful communication between the Academy and its international membership so the AAO-HNS can better serve the international community, AAO-HNS senior leadership established an International Advisory Board (IAB) in 2016. I was asked to be the inaugural chair of the IAB for two years, and my friend and colleague Sady Selaimen da Costa, MD, MSc, PhD, from Brazil, the vice chair.

      A new chair and vice chair will be elected at the AAO-HNSF 2018 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience in Atlanta, GA. I ask that you identify and nominate visionary leaders from your regions to lead the IAB for the next two years. Candidates must be active Academy members and formally affiliated with the AAO-HNSF ICS network.

      Other members of the IAB are the Immediate Past Chair; Immediate Past President of the AAO-HNS/F; Executive Vice President of the AAO-HNS/F; Coordinator for International Affairs; Senior Director for Global Education, Meetings, and Strategic Partnerships; and the Senior Program Manager, Global Affairs. Through the composition of the IAB executive and direct representation of the IAB chair on the AAO-HNS Board, global otolaryngology is now formally embedded within the larger structure of the AAO-HNS/F. This opens new opportunities for international communication and collaborative work.

      The inaugural IAB General Assembly meeting was held at the 2017 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. More than 30 ICS and participants from 50 countries attended and contributed to this important milestone in the history of the AAO-HNS. During a closed-door session of the IAB meeting, delegates voted to approve the IAB Bylaws, which were subsequently approved by the AAO-HNSF Board of Directors, formally incorporating the IAB governance structure into the AAO-HNS/F.

      With the IAB now formally established, we have an opportunity to transform the AAO-HNS from being primarily a North American society to a truly international organization with a global educational footprint. The IAB looks forward to listening to ideas of members of the international ENT community and communicating them directly to the AAO-HNSF Board. We need to grab this opportunity to nudge the AAO-HNS, with its great organizational and professional expertise, to reach out—especially to developing countries—through webinars, open-access education resources, and satellite meetings, and to invite its members to attend meetings in our countries.

      I do believe that the establishment of the IAB strengthens the voice of the global otolaryngology community and signals the AAO-HNSF’s commitment to assume a more global educational and organizational role. We should all embrace this opportunity to make it a reality.