Service and Leadership Awards

August 2020 – Vol. 39, No. 7

A special thank you to Albert L. Merati, MD, AAO-HNS/F Immediate Past President and Chair of the Board of Directors Awards Task Force. Through the task force’s inaugural work, led by Dr. Merati, the AAO-HNS/F streamlined the application and submission process to identify and recognize individuals for their notable contributions to the profession and the communities they serve.

Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service

The Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service is awarded to a member who is widely recognized for a consistent, stable character distinguished by honesty, zeal for truth, integrity, love, devotion to humanity, and a self-giving spirit.

This year’s awardee is Merry E. Sebelik, MD. She is a Professor in Emory University’s Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, serving in the Division of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology with the Winship Cancer Institute, a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Sebelik’s clinical practice has an emphasis on endocrine surgery of the head and neck, as well as comprehensive, multidisciplinary treatment of skin and aerodigestive tumors of the head and neck. She has incorporated surgeon-performed, point-of-care ultrasound into staging, treatment planning, and preoperative surgical assessment of many of her patients. Additionally, she participates in research studies addressing expanded indications for ultrasound use in clinical care and employs ultrasound imaging in translational research.

She is an American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Ultrasound faculty member and conducts training courses in head and neck ultrasound and participates as a didactic and practical instructor in courses at American Head and Neck Society (AHNS), ACS, and AAO-HNS meetings. She co-directed an ACS-exported thyroid and parathyroid ultrasound course at the University of Cape Town in 2018, to head and neck surgeons living and working in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently, she joined local and international instructors to deliver additional head and neck point-of-care ultrasound training at the 3rd Annual African Head and Neck Society meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Dr. Sebelik has a strong interest in addressing deficits in surgical care in low- and middle-income countries and has worked with the World Health Organization’s Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care. She currently serves on the Global Surgical Education and Domestic Volunteerism Subcommittees of the Global Engagement Committee of the ACS Operation Giving Back, as well as the Global Affairs Committee of the AHNS. She serves as a consulting adviser to the board of Helping Hands for Rwanda, a non-government organization seeking to improve healthcare access to Rwandans. Her role as a faculty mentor in Emory University’s Global Health Resident Scholar Program allows her to work with otolaryngology trainees from Ethiopia and Emory on an ongoing basis.

Through her interest in global surgical deficits, Dr. Sebelik has been privileged to collaborate with colleagues and trainees in many low- and middle-income countries, and thus facilitate care to head and neck patients who may otherwise have little access to surgical care.

She received her medical degree and otolaryngology, head and neck surgery training at the Medical College of Wisconsin and fellowship training in head and neck surgical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.

 

Jerome C. Goldstein, MD Public Service Award

The Jerome C. Goldstein, MD Public Service Award is given annually to recognize an outstanding member for his or her commitment and achievement in service within the United States, either to the public or to other organizations, when such service promises to improve patient welfare.

This year’s awardee is Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, who currently serves as the dean of the Medical School and executive vice president and provost, professor of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences and Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). His colleagues describe him as a quadruple threat; a sought-after clinician, a beloved teacher of students and residents, a National Institutes of Health-funded otitis media researcher, and a leader both inside and outside of the specialty. His work has improved patient welfare, shaping the future of medical education, crafting national medical education policies, enriching his local institution and community, and conducting groundbreaking transitional otitis media research.

Dr. Kerschner’s commitment to advocating for underrepresented minority staff, faculty, and students and his community is unparalleled. He has served on various boards and committees within MCW and the greater Milwaukee community including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Foundation and Research Boards, and Camp Kesem (a nationwide college student-led organization that raises funds to send children of adults with cancer to summer camps and programs).

Dr. Kerschner received his MD from MCW and completed a general surgery internship and otolaryngology residency at the University of South Florida and a pediatric otolaryngology fellowship at the MCW and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

 

Holt Leadership Award

The Holt Leadership Award is awarded annually to the Resident or Fellow-in-Training who best exemplifies the attributes of a young leader: honesty, integrity, fairness, advocacy, and enthusiasm. The Award recognizes exemplary efforts on behalf of the Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training (SRF) of the AAO-HNS/F for the promotion of the missions and goals of the association.

This year’s awardee is Aurora G. Vincent, MD, a fellow with the Facial Plastic Surgery Associates in Houston, Texas.

As a senior resident, she mentored residents to become involved in research and was appointed the department’s research director. Dr. Vincent was instrumental in developing the first multidisciplinary head and neck transgender clinical service in the Department of Defense and personally devised the sterno-omohyoid dual-vector free muscle flap, which is rapidly becoming the standard treatment for long-standing flaccid facial paralysis across the U.S. Army.

Dr. Vincent has published nine peer-reviewed papers and 15 invited articles. She has won 10 awards for her research at various local, regional, and national venues, military and civilian alike. She serves as a reviewer for multiple journals, a board member for the Northwest Academy of Otolaryngology, and a member of the Madigan Army Medical Center critical care committee. She recently participated in a mission to Lima, Peru, where she and her team provided 81 hearing aids and 164 pairs of glasses and performed 115 cleft surgeries.

Dr. Vincent has been recognized with the Kenyan Joyce Award for the best research paper and the MG Floyd L. Wergeland Award for the top graduating resident.

Dr. Vincent earned her MD from the Uniformed Services University in 2013 and completed her residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in 2018.

 

Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Humanitarian Award

The International Humanitarian Award honors a non-U.S. otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon who has selflessly treated people for whom access to care would have been financially or physically prohibitive.

This year’s awardee is Marlinda Adham, MD, PhD.

With 20 years of experience as an ENT head and neck surgeon, Dr. Adham’s distinguished academic career includes important leadership positions, such as the current general secretary of the Indonesian Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Society, chair of the Indonesian Oncology Head and Neck Study Group, past-president of the Asian Society of Head and Neck Oncology, and founder and course director of the Indonesian ORL-Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology Training Program.

In 2006, Dr. Adham organized the annual Thyroid Mission in Southern Maluku. She chose this district because many of the local population have thyroid nodules thought to be caused by iodine deficiency. Most of the patients are poor, live far from the hospital, and have transportation difficulties. The lack of trained thyroid surgeons on the island made this a clear choice for this humanitarian mission.

The local hospital, Karel Sadsuitubun, and the agency Empowerment of Family Health (PKK) informs the community and primary care physicians by radio to announce the arrival of the Thyroid Mission. The PKK assists in informing, collecting, and preparing the patients for surgery. The Thyroid Mission brings anesthesiologists, surgical gowns, and other surgical supplies.

Composed of ENT faculty and residents from various medical centers in Indonesia, the Thyroid Mission stays onsite for one week performing around 50 thyroid surgeries in five days. All specimens are examined by pathologists in the RSCM Hospital in Jakarta. Patients who are found to have a malignant tumor are followed up with a total thyroidectomy.

Dr. Adham’s work with the Thyroid Mission has shaped the spirit of cooperation and sharing to help these unfortunate patients. Additionally, the Thyroid Mission supplies a wonderful experience for young ENT surgeons in providing patients with professional care despite the limitations in the facilities.

Dr. Adham has been an invited speaker at dozens of meetings, primarily in Asia, and has had 32 papers published in peer-reviewed journals with the dominant theme of head and neck surgery and oncology. She has also served as the thesis supervisor for 27 graduate and PhD students.

A native of Indonesia, Dr. Adham received her medical degree from the University of Indonesia, followed by a residency in otorhinolaryngology. She received her PhD from the Free University in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This was followed by a fellowship in oncology–head and neck surgery at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, and the Prince of Wales Hospital Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is currently a member of the faculty in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Indonesia’s Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo (RSCM) Hospital in Jakarta.

 

Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Public Service Award

The International Public Service Award honors a non-U.S. otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon whose achievements have advanced the specialty.

This year’s awardee is M. Shahed Quraishi, MD.  In 2005, Professor Quraishi founded the ENT Masterclass, a teaching platform for ENT surgeons and allied professionals, which provides ENT training and educational resources through his free multimedia training platform. ENT Masterclass reach spans 15 countries (UK, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Romania, Australia, China, India, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan) across four continents and is delivered by a volunteer faculty network of over 250 eminent professors/surgeons of ENT from all over the world.

Since 2008, ENT Masterclass has published a yearbook, a 150-page review journal; four annual courses webcast live all over the world; and the “Cyber Textbook of Surgery,” a selection of 450 ENT surgical/training videos from open-source access. His platform also provides an international traveling scholarship and an annual gold and silver medal for best research papers presented by trainees in ENT. His “ENT Masterclass Academic Travelling Club” provides training in developing countries and is also offered free of charge.

Professor Quraishi’s efforts also include the training and teaching of residents in the United Kingdom. He served as the program director for higher surgical training in South Yorkshire and is a member of the Court of Examiners at the Royal College of Surgeons in England.

In 2017, Queen Elizabeth II presented Dr. Quraishi with the “Order of the British Empire” for his service to medical education and the National Health Service. His excellence in teaching was recognized by the Middle East Academy of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery with the Heinz Stammberger Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019.

Professor Quraishi is currently an ENT surgeon in the United Kingdom, where he has practiced as a consultant since 2004.