Why Leadership Matters: A Keen Eye on Equity, Wellness, and More

October 2020 – Vol. 39, No. 9

I am deeply honored and privileged to serve as your President. We find ourselves at a crossroads, battling the COVID-19 pandemic and the healthcare, education, and economic fallout it has created while upholding our commitment to provide outstanding ear, nose, and throat patient care. We continue to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the face of the spotlight that has been placed on racial injustice in our country. We are now midway through our first Virtual Annual Meeting that is “Bringing Together the World of Otolaryngology” with an exceptional education program.

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

In the midst of this upheaval, it is prudent to focus on why leadership matters, at all times, but particularly in times of turmoil and crisis. These times are unsettling for all of us. The pandemic has impacted our profession, our work, and our lives. We have fear of uncertainty and of change. Leadership matters because leaders help us have confidence in our future. Leaders help define the pathway to that future. The Academy has provided important leadership during this time of crisis, and we will continue to serve you, our members, as well as your communities, which include patients, families, learners, and our global colleagues.

In 1675 Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” We are very grateful for the ongoing leadership and deep commitment of Executive Vice President and CEO James C. Denneny III, MD, who, in partnership with Immediate Past President Duane J. Taylor, MD, and the Executive Committee, has guided and supported our membership throughout this crisis. Specific initiatives provided our membership with important guidance for the safe return to practice in the midst of the pandemic, access to the informative podcast series specific to COVID-19, and information regarding provider relief funds. These examples highlight the vital role that the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) plays for all of us.

The strength of the AAO-HNS is our engaged members and dedicated leaders. We have a clear vision for the future: to be the global leader in optimizing quality ear, nose, and throat patient care. We are planning to update our strategic plan this coming year. I look forward to participating in an inclusive strategic planning process that will help us realize our clear vision for the future.

Dr. Taylor and the Executive Committee endorsed our Academy’s strong stand on anti-racism. In this statement, he wrote, “We will continue to support our programs to promote diversity and inclusion, educate our members regarding cultural sensitivity and implicit bias, and seek ways on how we can be part of the solution…” I am committed to continuing our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion during my term, and I hope you will join me in this commitment so that our focused theme, “We Are One: Otolaryngology United for ENT Patient Care,” becomes a core value and rings true for all of us.

I am passionate about ensuring the wellness of all members of our community. I recognize that many members are struggling at this unprecedented time. Please participate in the many great presentations on wellness at our AAO-HNSF 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting & OTO Experience. For example, Dr. Richard Rosenfeld will present the session “Physician, Heal Thyself: Eating for Health, Wellness, and Longevity.” Dr. Michael Brenner will moderate the panel “To Care is Human: Navigating the Pathway from Burnout to Surgeon Wellness and Resilience.” As your President, I will continue to focus on the importance of taking care of ourselves so that we can care for others. We are here to help.