Section Spotlight: Women in Otolaryngology (WIO)

December 2020/January 2021 – Vol. 39, No. 11

Disturbance and Recovery: Inspiration for 2021

Jamie R. Litvack, MD, MS, WIO Chair


Nalini Nadkarni, PhD, a forest ecologist and tree canopy specialist and guest speaker at the WIO General Assembly, held during the AAO-HNSF 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting & OTO Experience, described the process of “disturbance and recovery,” which to me is a good summary of 2020—unexpected disturbances, feelings of loss and isolation, maybe a crisis of identity. However, these disturbances, while uncomfortable in the present, can lead to new consequences and a new state. I like to think that is where we are today, experiencing disturbances that will help inspire and motivate us to evolve to a new and better state.

Jamie R. Litvack, MD, MS
WIO Chair

So how are we going to get there? What skills, tools, and resources will we need to succeed in this new state? What can we, as the women of otolaryngology, do to lead this new and better state? In my year as WIO Chair, I see three major themes: relationships, knowledge, and achievement.

First and foremost is our relationship with each other. Our connectivity is a powerful source of strength, inspiration, and synergism. Isolation this past year has inspired innovation and virtual connectivity in a way we never experienced before. Our first-ever virtual WIO networking event was met with enormous enthusiasm, and it triggered second- and third-level connectivity. Keep an eye out for recurrent virtual networking events over the coming months.

Second is knowledge. As Dr. Nadkarni pointed out, “Knowledge enhances recovery.” In addition to Expert Lectures and Annual Meeting programming, we will have leadership and negotiation workshops in person and virtually this year that will enhance our knowledge and growth.

Third is achievement. In 2020 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the establishment of WIO. We reflect on and celebrate the tremendous achievements women otolaryngologists have made at the Academy and in healthcare leadership across the country. As we go forth in this coming year and the second decade of WIO, let us celebrate what we have accomplished with grace and gratitude and what we will accomplish in this new and better state.