My experience at the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting

March 2017 - Vol. 36, No. 02

Erynne A. Faucett, MD
Harry Barnes Endowment Travel Grant Awardee

Thanks to the Harry Barnes Endowment Travel Grant, awarded through the Academy’s Diversity Committee, I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO℠.  This grant helped offset costs so that I could to travel to San Diego, CA, where I presented my research, mentored medical students as they presented our common research, attended committee meetings, and networked with colleagues. I also used this experience to further enhance my education with a specific focus on topics related to medical education and my future career in pediatric otolaryngology.

The meeting also reinforced the importance of mentorship and education to me. As a chief resident at the University of Arizona, I regularly mentor medical students who are interested in pursuing a career in otolaryngology and I actively involve them in research projects early in their training. This meeting was particularly special to me as I was able to watch these students and junior residents present their research as oral and poster presentations. It was especially gratifying to watch these presentations, knowing that I was involved in their development. I also had an opportunity to present on the topic of medical education, an area of great interest to me, with a talk on the history of otolaryngology education at the History and Archives Forum.

My personal development was also enhanced through attendance at the Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Leadership Development and Mentorship meeting as well as the Diversity Committee meeting. At the WIO meeting, we discussed the importance of meaningful and effective mentorship for women in the Academy. This was reinforced through a discussion of the positive experiences of women involved in the WIO leadership program, a program that I hope to participate in next year. My participation at the Diversity Committee meeting was especially rewarding as the current committee chair, Valerie A. Flanary, MD, is the individual who initially introduced me to the committee and the Harry Barnes Society a few years ago. At this meeting, we discussed the importance of continued involvement and leadership within the committee and the Academy. This dialogue seems to be a theme that I found throughout the annual meeting and reiterated to me the importance of promoting diversity in our field.

Moreover, the recognition that diversity is paramount in the field of otolaryngology was reiterated by Academy leadership at many points during the meeting. Another theme that emerged was that we need to be leaders in eliminating inequities in the quality and availability of healthcare for underserved populations. In addition, it was refreshing to see so many residents and junior faculty at this meeting as the next generation of otolaryngologists actively can bring in new ideas and insight into our ever-evolving specialty. I also learned about the underrepresented minority (URM) away rotational grant, which is awarded each year to an URM medical student to help with travel costs to be used for away rotations in otolaryngology. I think that this is a great opportunity for medical students and can provide early exposure to otolaryngology, especially for those who are not exposed to otolaryngology at their home institutions.

I used my experience at the meeting this year to not only enhance my medical knowledge, but also to network with peers, colleagues, and mentors. I had great conversations regarding my own career goals and aspirations as I will be starting a pediatric fellowship next year. The opportunity to talk with other fellows and faculty about negotiating work-life balance and paving a path for a career in academic medicine (and attend a Miniseminar on these topics) was extremely valuable for me. I also met individuals whose careers I would like to emulate and formed new mentor-mentee relationships, which I will rely upon as I move forward in my pediatric otolaryngology career.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at this year’s Annual Meeting, and I want to thank the Academy and Diversity Committee for awarding me this travel grant. I look forward to contributing to both the Diversity Committee and the Academy throughout my academic career.