Why Going Global Is More Important Than Ever

November 2020 – Vol. 39, No. 10

I had the great honor and privilege to serve on the Global Panel Presentation at the International Advisory Board (IAB) General Assembly held during the AAO-HNSF 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. The panel was moderated by IAB Chair, Sady Selaimen da Costa, MD, MSc, PhD, (Brazil) and Chair-elect, Karl Hoermann, MD (Germany). I was joined on this esteemed panel by Dong-Young Kim, MD (Korea), Cem Meco, MD, FEBORL-HNS (Turkey), Titus S. Ibekwe, MBBS, FWACS, (Nigeria), Hector De la Garza, MD, (Mexico), and Thana Hikmet Nassir, MD, PhD, FICMS, (Iraq).

Carol R. Bradford, MD, MS
AAO-HNS/F President

The topic was “Otorhinolaryngology in the COVID-19 Era: The Global Experience.” The panelists described the impact of the pandemic upon education and training.  While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our global community with loss of life, human suffering, and adverse economic consequences, the pandemic has also created tremendous innovation in care paradigms and education platforms. In many respects, the pandemic has brought us closer together.  Virtual platforms have allowed greater participation of members across the globe. There has been tremendous innovation in online learning platforms and virtual meetings. The new FLEX multimedia education platform is very timely.

Launched in September 2020 and already with more than 3,000 subscribers as of October 20, FLEX delivers knowledge, education, clinical tools, and professional support to the otolaryngology community in a way that can be applied directly to practice and patient care. The vision for FLEX came via the work of the AAO-HNSF Future of Education Task Force, and today more than 130 experts in the specialty contributed and continue to contribute to the content that is delivered to subscribers using innovative and cutting-edge education technology. For more information about FLEX, go to www.entnet.org/flex.

I had the privilege of serving on the International Task Force, appointed by Gayle E. Woodson, MD, Past President of the AAO-HNS/F several years ago.  The task force was charged with how to foster and embrace the global otolaryngology community to a greater extent. The creation of our IAB was an outcome of the recommendations of this task force. I would say that the creation of the IAB has far exceeded our collective expectations. Our partnership with the global otolaryngology community has never been stronger. We are privileged to have the opportunity to share best practices, to learn from one another, and to foster even more productive collaborations. We are indebted to the inaugural IAB Chair, Johannes Jacobus Fagan, MBChB, FCS(SA). Clearly, we face unprecedented disruptions in care, education, and research, yet we need to leverage bold and innovative strategies to allow us to successfully navigate our collective future together. This reminds me of a favorite African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”

Based on the valuable input from our international colleagues as delivered through many joint meetings, roundtable discussions, the International Corresponding Societies, and the IAB leadership, the Academy has taken multiple steps to facilitate more widespread international engagement through special pricing models for membership and education products. We are pleased to announce that we are partnering with EvermedTV to help distribute Annual Meeting content and other selected education materials to the global community. I know that we can go far as a global otolaryngology community. Together, we can realize our collective vision and mission.