Published: February 1, 2022

Volunteerism Is a Currency that Always Appreciates

So many members have given so much to the Academy over the last several years despite very trying times.

James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEOJames C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEOSo many members have given so much to the Academy over the last several years despite very trying times. They have volunteered their time, energy, and resources to advance the mission of the Academy and otolaryngology and ultimately patient care even though they themselves have experienced personal and professional hardships and increasing personal risk in addition to the everchanging working conditions they face daily. I would like to recognize, thank, and salute the hundreds of our domestic and international members and our staff who have fueled our organization and allowed it to flourish through their generous contributions during the toughest of times.

Elizabeth Andrew’s statement, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they have the HEART!” certainly is reflective of the situation facing the majority of our members regardless of whether they practice academic medicine, are employed, have their own private practice, are in an urban or rural setting, are a comprehensive practitioner or specialist, or are a student, resident, or fellow, or a 40-year veteran. The culture of volunteerism isn’t developed, driven, or maintained by a desire for financial gain, public recognition, or advancement, but rather a profound commitment to a cause and mission they believe in. Physicians and others in the medical field also are inherently driven to serve others as a core aspect of the professionalism ingrained in them. Additionally, volunteers must believe that the time, energy, resources, or money that they donate is consistent with the mission they are supporting, as well as advances the cause they are working on and makes a difference to their target beneficiaries.

The Academy and Foundation could not financially afford to design and produce any of our education products, such as FLEX, podcasts, webinars, videos, or Annual Meeting programming, without the thousands of volunteer hours donated on our behalf to benefit patient care. Sherry Anderson observed, “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” That is certainly the case with all our members who make the broad portfolio of our programs possible. Our quality programs continue to produce critical Clinical Practice Guidelines, Expert Consensus Statements, and Performance Measures that have led to critical patient care improvements over many years. Our clinical data registry, Reg-entSM, would never have gotten off the ground without the governing Executive Committee and the Clinical Advisory Committees and especially the members who chose to volunteer to participate in this critical quality program from the beginning. There are roughly 80 committees or task forces that all make meaningful contributions to our efforts, most of which I have not listed due to space constraints, but you can access the list on our website at

Finally, I would like to pay special tribute to those who make themselves available to be elected leaders of the organization as an Officer or member of the Board of Directors, Board of Governors, or Governing Councils of our Sections. I would also like to give special recognition to the leaders of the 125 Strong Campaign and the Annual Meeting Program Committee, as well as members of the Combined Otolaryngology Research Efforts Committee, the Awards Committee, 3P Workgroup, and the Finance and Investment Subcommittee for all their efforts on our behalf.

I am honored to be a part of the staff who works for an organization with such a rich heritage of volunteerism over our 125-year history that includes our leaders, committee and task force members, speakers, authors, donors, advocates, participants in Academy/Foundation programs, and the host of other members who volunteer when needed for their personal contributions that produce the fantastic opportunities we wouldn’t have without you. I pledge to you that we will do the absolute best we can to maximize all that you do for the organization and specialty and fulfill our mission. 

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More from February 2022 – Vol. 41, No. 1