Presidential Citations: 2018

July 2018 – Vol. 37, No. 6

The Presidential Citations are given to individuals who have had a profound influence on the AAO-HNS/F President’s life and otolaryngology. President Gavin Setzen, MD, has selected the below individuals for their outstanding contributions and dedication to the Academy and Foundation.

Peter J. Koltai, MD

Dr. Koltai is Professor of Otolaryngology and Pediatrics in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. Peter had a long and distinguished career at Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, where I had the honor and pleasure of experiencing his remarkable intellect, tutelage, mentorship and friendship, both as a resident and a junior attending venturing out into private practice.

Peter is the consummate professional who made his residents, staff, and colleagues feel respected and appreciated—part of an important caring team. He has the unique ability to recall the names of almost every patient and their family members. He taught me to communicate with patients and their families in a deeply personal way—a true connector able to allay patients’ fears and concerns. These valuable traits were combined with his meticulous attention to detail and superlative surgical abilities.

Peter is highly innovative and creative in his approach to patient care and surgery. He is a prolific surgeon-scientist, widely published in the field. He is an accomplished medical illustrator, regularly self-illustrating his varied publications.

Peter has made invaluable contributions to the management of pediatric facial fractures, tracheostomy, refinements in laryngotracheal reconstruction, choanal atresia, and many other areas. His innovative approach brought powered instrumentation to the forefront of pediatric surgery. 

He has been recognized by his peers and has served as President of both American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO) and American Broncho-Esophagological Association (ABEA). He is now a Senior Fellow in Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health and has helped develop a productive and respected pediatric otolaryngology program at the University of Zimbabwe.

Peter, your mentorship and generous academic spirit have made an indelible impression—thank you!

Steven M. Parnes, MD

Dr. Parnes is the quintessential academic role model, mentor, leader, and friend, and was a constant source of inspiration through my residency. He is Professor of Otolaryngology at Albany Medical College, the former Chairman for over 30 years. His single-minded determination models excellent care for all patients. He has been a trusted confidant to his faculty and colleagues and is always willing to assume complicated patient care. When asked, no matter the time of day, or week … the answer is always “yes.” 

Steve’s surgical technique is remarkable, matched by his diverse surgical repertoire and generous willingness to lead and teach in the operating room, whether resecting an acoustic neuroma, performing a complex tongue base carcinoma resection, or simply placing a tympanostomy tube. His supremely calm demeanor and steady hand, heart, and head make one always feel safe and confident. He is the supreme resident advocate, maintaining close friendships and professional relationships with many. He is humble, fair, and the “go to” person in his institution. I was struck by his ability to unify the academic and community physicians for the betterment of the resident experience and resident education.

Steve is an excellent motivator and collaborator, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him at the New York State Society of Otolaryngology (NYSSO), where he served as President and its Governor to the AAO-HNS Board of Governors. He’s held many  leadership positions at Albany Medical College/Center, AAO-HNS, ACS, Triological Society, AOS, SUO, AADO, ASGO, and many more. Steve’s passion for global medicine is demonstrated in the delivery of humanitarian otolaryngology care to patients in Honduras, Nicaragua, West Bank, Syria, and North Korea.

Steve, I am grateful for your wisdom, energy, and all-embracing approach to research, education and patient care, and will always embrace our friendship and collegiality!

Michael Setzen, MD

Dr. Setzen is Clinical Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is in a thriving private practice in Great Neck, NY, and is highly regarded as a “private practice academician.” He developed a reputation second-to-none and is sought for his outstanding surgical skills combined with his caring and empathetic style of doctoring. Michael’s gregarious nature and keen sense of humor endear him to all around him.

His strong interest in clinical research is manifest in the peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and presentations he has delivered, which led to his lecturing nationally and internationally on rhinology, paranasal sinus pathology, and more. He is an expert on our specialty’s coding and socioeconomic issues.

Mike is a Past Chair of the AAO-HNS Board of Governors (BOG), Past President of the American Rhinologic Society, and the recipient of the BOG Practitioner Excellence Award and the AAO-HNS Distinguished Service Award. A long-standing member of the Physician Payment Policy (3P) Workgroup, he also tirelessly advocates for relevant otolaryngology courses.

Personally, I am immensely proud of my big brother for all he has accomplished, not only in otolaryngology, but as a family man. In my childhood, my two older brothers were always studying medicine, and so it seemed natural for me to pursue medicine as well. I distinctly remember visiting Michael when I was a ninth grader and he was in residency at Barnes Hospital with Dr. Joseph O’Gura. I became keenly interested in otolaryngology after watching a head and neck cadaver dissection and, upon returning to South Africa, focused my career toward otolaryngology.

I am deeply grateful, Mike, for your close mentorship and support and for always looking out for me and helping me accomplish my goals and aspirations. I am honored that you are my brother and colleague in this wonderful field that we both cherish and love so much!