Q&A with the ASPO leadership

November 2019 – Vol. 38, No. 10

What are the most pressing issues facing pediatric otolaryngology, both domestically and globally?

  1. Access to quality pediatric otolaryngology care for all children
  2. Standardization of training for otolaryngologists in the field of pediatric otolaryngology

ASPO: What you should know about our society

Our mission is to foster excellence in the care of children with otolaryngologic disorders by promoting education and collaborative research and to share and disseminate advances and innovations in patient care through the Annual Meeting and other venues.

Membership:

  • Total membership: 641 with steady growth and increasing diversity

Endowment:

  • Sound financial structure due to close monitoring of operating cost and endowment
  • Active Development Committee with close interaction with our members to determine what initiatives can most benefit from ongoing support

Research and education:

  • Funded 41 new projects (since 2005) with total financial support of close to $700,000 to push our specialty into new frontiers and to provide useful information for our pediatric and general ORL colleagues

Meeting and conferences:

  • Annual Spring Meeting held in conjunction with Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings (COSM) with one of the highest number of attendees at the COSM for the past decade. (Once every four years, ASPO rotates out of COSM and holds a breakout meeting, happening next in Montreal in 2021.)
  • ASPO Summer Meeting (Frontiers in Pediatric Otolaryngology), which is in its fourth year and takes place in Vail, CO
  • Free annual Resident/Fellow Seminar in conjunction with AAO-HNS, most recently in New Orleans

For more information about ASPO, becoming a member, research and education initiatives, and future meetings, please visit http://aspo.us/.

What are some of the barriers to optimal care for infants and children, and how can we eliminate them?

Anna H. Messner, MD ASPO President

The number one barrier is lack of access to care. Nationally, the access issue can be due to a lack of locally available practitioners or pediatric-appropriate surgical facilities (including pediatric anesthesia), and, in the immigrant population, parental fear of visiting healthcare facilities. ASPO is partnering with national societies such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Surgeons to promote programs providing otolaryngologic care to children. Internationally, ASPO works with other pediatric otolaryngology organizations, like the European Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology and the Interamerican Association of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, to promote pediatric otolaryngology education.

What are some key advancements in research and treatment in pediatric otolaryngology, and how has that impacted the specialty and the
patients?

Reza Rahbar, DMD, MD ASPO Secretary

In recent years, newborn screening tests for congenital cytomegalovirus and cystic fibrosis have become routine in many areas. Early identification of these disorders leads to better care and improved long-term outcomes.

The AAO-HNSF promotes a Kids Safe Holiday this time of year. Does ASPO have any similar recommendations or resources to educate the public?

This a website in both English and Spanish aimed toward families regarding the risks of button batteries: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Button-Battery-Injuries-in-Children-A-Growing-Risk.aspx.

Of all the priorities of ASPO right now, which one or two would you want to impress upon your colleagues practicing in all subspecialty areas as essential to the work, mission, and vision of ASPO?

Providing the highest level of care and providing access to all.