“We are one”

April 2018 – Vol. 37, No. 3

This year, the Academy has selected “We Are One” as our Annual Meeting & OTO Experience theme and new organizational brand. This is who we are and what we represent across all areas of our membership. The resultant message is compelling at many levels and essential to the maintenance and advancement of otolaryngology’s ability to command a leadership role in patient care through the volatile times we face as the healthcare system evolves.

James C. Denneny III, MD
AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEO

We will continue to provide “Value 4U” and offer cutting-edge programs such as “Premiering Tomorrow, Today.” But as the “big money” from non-traditional participants pours into all areas of healthcare, it will take a consolidated effort from all who care about patient welfare to ensure that it is the primary focus going forward.

Through our recently completed strategic planning process, the AAO-HNS self-identified an envisioned future worthy of marshaling our resources to accomplish. Key statements within the vivid description of our desired future included: “The Academy is the home for all professionals specializing in ear, nose, and throat care,” “We are recognized as an inviting, accepting, and inclusive professional community fostering diversity within the specialty and the organization,” “We support professionals working in the specialty inclusive of all practice environments and subspecialties,” “We foster synergistic partnerships with international colleagues, specialty societies, allied health providers, and strategic partners,” and “In striving to be inclusive and responsive to our members’ needs and concerns, we facilitate connections that will ensure the wellness and success of our members.” These strong and unequivocal statements give us both a robust foundation of existence and direction as to the only way we will be able to accomplish the majority of our goals.

It will take a concerted effort by all participants in the healthcare delivery system as well as the patients to create a focus on the high-quality care that this country’s citizens deserve. A great strength of our organization is the diversity of thought, experience, and culture that provides a basis for an even better product that all our patients deserve. The “all-hands-on-deck” strategy accentuates the fact that we all need each other to succeed. The specialty has expanded and thrived because of superior results in areas that were traditionally done by others. That requires not only this specialty’s academic programs, but also this specialty’s community practitioners who have spread the excellent care across all regions of the country. If either academic or private practice disappeared, our specialty would contract and eventually involute. All our members representing all demographics, all practice types from all areas of the country practicing all disciplines of the specialty, must join together in this endeavor. Otolaryngologists, valued based on the knowledge and skills they have acquired and the dedication they display in taking care of patients, are equipped to provide the leadership in a collaborative prototype that can serve as a model for interaction with fellow participants from all areas of the healthcare industry.

It will be critical to set aside differences among the provider community and work as a true “house of medicine” and “house of surgery,” with primary care and specialists and nurse practitioner and physician assistant providers to lead the change through organizations such as the ACS, AMA, and CMSS, in which we are already active participants. The power of these groups can be wielded to improve the work environment and bring back the pleasure and satisfaction our profession should yield. AAO-HNS/F President Gavin Setzen, MD, has appointed an “Industry Relations Task Force” to evaluate and recommend optimal ways to work as partners to create new therapeutic options for our patients. We need to work closely with the hospitals, outpatient centers, surgery centers, allied health providers, and patients to create a simplified and caring environment to deliver and receive care.

Next month, you have the opportunity to choose those to lead us on the path as a united, diverse specialty. Our Nominating Committee has done a fabulous job of selecting a slate of candidates capable of doing just that. The last several years have seen a declining interest in our election process, ironically at the same time change in the healthcare system has accelerated. It is during these times that leadership makes the most difference. I encourage you to be an active participant in this election as well as in Academy activities. Additionally, please communicate your ideas, opinions, and needs to us to better inform our leaders as to the direction we should be going.