Published: May 14, 2024

Announcing the 2024 Hall of Distinction Inductees

The AAO-HNS/F has announced 12 new individuals to be inducted to its Hall of Distinction.


The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and Foundation (AAO-HNS/F) is pleased to announce the selection of the third class of inductees into the AAO-HNS Hall of Distinction. A special thank-you to the Awards Committee, chaired by Albert L. Merati, MD, who selected six individuals for the “Pioneers” category and six individuals for the “Living Legends” category. Those recommendations were approved by the Board of Directors in April.

President Douglas D. Backous, MD, will honor this outstanding class of inductees during a special presentation at the AAO-HNSF 2024 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO during the Opening Ceremony, 8:00 – 9:00 am (ET), Saturday, September 28, in Miami Beach, Florida.

Hall of Distinction (Pioneers)

Margaret F. Butler, MDMargaret F. Butler, MDMargaret F. Butler, MD, a pioneering, well-respected leader in medicine and ambassador to the specialty, was the first woman to chair an otolaryngology program in the United States. In 1906, she was appointed Chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and served in that capacity, as well as Professor of Laryngology, Rhinology, and Otology, until her passing in 1931. In 1908, Dr. Butler was sent to Vienna to represent the United States at the first International Congress on Otolaryngology of which she was the only woman and only American in attendance. Throughout her career, she encouraged women to enter medicine and, in particular, the field of otolaryngology and was a mentor to many students.

Dr. Butler provided a blueprint for future generations of women otolaryngologists to follow through her vision, skill, expertise, and fortitude. She was also an innovator and created several otolaryngologic instruments, one of which was the Butler tonsil snare. She was considered to be a prominent surgeon who spent countless hours in the operating room. As a tribute to her influence and legacy, the American Head and Neck Society awards the Margaret F. Butler Outstanding Mentor of Women in Head and Neck Surgery Award, honoring individuals who have demonstrated leadership in promoting gender diversity in the field. Dr. Butler graduated from the Woman's Medical College in 1894 after which she studied at the University of Vienna. In addition to her work at the Women’s Medical College, she had a private practice in Philadelphia.

Berrylin June Ferguson, MDBerrylin June Ferguson, MDBerrylin June Ferguson, MD, a surgeon-scientist who demonstrated a life-long commitment to quality patient care and outcomes, was a Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for more than 20 years. She also served as Chief of the Division of Sinonasal Disorders and Allergy. Dr. Ferguson evolved as an international leader in rhinology and sinonasal allergy and demonstrated an enthusiastic pursuit of excellence in all areas of her life. She contributed over 100 manuscripts for peer-review publication and edited four books, including Allergies for the Otolaryngologist, An Issue of Otolaryngologic Clinics. Her research areas included clinical care and the understanding of disorders of the nose and sinuses, categorization of eosinophilic rhinosinusitis, especially the role of bacteria, superantigens, and fungi.

In 2012, the outpatient care area in Mercy Hospital was named the BJ Ferguson Sino Nasal Disorders & Allergy Center in honor of her legacy and as tribute to her focus on patient care. The University of Pittsburgh also established the BJ Ferguson Annual Lectureship in Sinonasal Disorders and Allergy in 2016 in her honor, also as well as to highlight her contributions to the specialty and the quality of care she provided to her patients. Dr. Ferguson attended the inaugural lecture in May 2016 before her passing in July 2016. Dr. Ferguson attained her medical degree and completed her residency as well as her postdoctoral fellowship in medical mycology at Duke University.

Charles Gladney, MDCharles Gladney, MDCharles Gladney, MD, a pioneer in the ongoing mission for equity in medicine and a trailblazing mentor, was the first African American to hold the position of chair of a basic science or clinical department in the United States and the first African American physician admitted to the Triological Society. Dr. Gladney was a practitioner and educator for more than 50 years and his groundbreaking contributions in otolaryngology, education, and civil rights continue to reverberate through the generations of physicians he inspired. Dr. Gladney served honorably in the U.S. Army Specialized Training Program, which afforded him the ability to attend Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, the first medical school for African Americans in the South. He interned at the segregated Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis. Dr. Gladney obtained specialty training at the Eye & Ear Infirmary at the University of Illinois in Chicago and the Hines Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, Illinois. In 1956, Dr. Gladney returned to St. Louis as only one of two otolaryngologists in the entire St. Louis area. He was a professor at Washington University and at the Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine, where he ultimately became Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology. In 2000, the SLU School of Medicine established the John H. Gladney Diversity Award. Dr. Gladney became a daily role model to his patients, students, colleagues, and community by the example of his choices.

John Kirchner, MDJohn Kirchner, MDJohn Kirchner, MD, an internationally recognized pioneer in laryngeal physiology and cancer research, served as Chief of the Section of Otolaryngology at Yale School of Medicine from 1951-1980. Dr. Kirchner was conferred an honorary membership in the European Laryngological Society in Rome in 1999 and was the first American member of the organization. Fluent in several languages, he was often invited to give lectures and teach courses abroad. One of his major areas of professional interest was the connection between smoking and cancer. He served as President of several professional societies, including the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery, the American Laryngological Association, the American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, and the American Head and Neck Society. Dr. Kirchner was also the recipient of numerous awards and honors, both national and international, including the AAO-HNS/F Merit Award; American Laryngological, Rhinological, Otological Society Mosher Award; American Laryngological Association Casselberry Award, Newcomb Award and deRoaldes Medal; and the University of London Semon Medal in Laryngology.

After completing his internship at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. Kirchner enlisted in the U.S. Army at the outbreak of World War II and served as a medical officer with the rank of captain in the 314th Regiment, 79th Infantry Division, landing on Utah Beach on D-Day plus nine. For his meritorious actions, Kirchner was awarded the Bronze Star. After returning from Europe in late 1945, Dr. Kirchner completed his otolaryngology residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Paul H. Ward, MDPaul H. Ward, MDPaul H. Ward, MD, a leading figure in the field of head and neck surgery, served UCLA as Professor and Chief of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Ward also served the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as Chair of a Communicative Science Research Study Section and as a Consultant to the NIH Director of Neurological Diseases and Stroke. He donated his time to the AAO-HNS/F as First Vice President in 1980 and as Coordinator for Continue Education from 1984-1989. Dr. Ward also served as President or an officer of numerous otolaryngology societies, including the Triological Society, American Laryngological Association, American Society for Head and Neck Surgery, and American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. He was a consulting editor or editorial advisor for many otolaryngology journals including Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Dr. Ward completed residency training in otolaryngology at the University of Chicago, and subsequently was a Special Fellow and Career Research Development Awardee at the University of Chicago. Following his training, Dr. Ward served as Chair of the Division of Otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for four years prior to his transition and 40-year career at UCLA. Dr. Ward served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, both in the Mediterranean Theatre in World War II and in the Korean War. Dr. Ward had a highly distinguished academic career, which was recognized with the AAO-HNS Presidential Citation in 1987.

Eiji Yanagisawa, MDEiji Yanagisawa, MDEiji Yanagisawa, MD, a pioneer of many medical techniques and renowned internationally for his documentation of disease states and videographic techniques in otolaryngology, was clinical professor of otolaryngology at Yale University School of Medicine and served the greater New Haven, Connecticut, community for decades. Dr. Yanagisawa had a profound influence on the training and development of over 100 Yale residents from the 1960s to 2010s, promoting clinical research and medical publications, and he gained national and international recognition for his clinical work. He authored or coauthored 356 original articles, 80 book chapters, and five books (including his pictorial autobiography), presented 19 scientific exhibits nationally and abroad, and created 77 teaching videotapes. Dr. Yanagisawa served in several distinguished positions including as President of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association, Vice President of the Eastern Section of the Triological Society, and President of the New England Otolaryngological Society. He received many honorary recognitions such as the Chevelier Jackson Award from the ABEA and the AAO-HNS Presidential Citation. He also received Lifetime Achievement Awards from AAO-HNS and the Politzer Society.

Two endowment funds honor and celebrate his contributions to otolaryngology: The Dr. Eiji Yanagisawa Lectureship and Resident Travel Fund at Yale University School of Medicine and the AAO-HNSF Eiji Yanagisawa, MD International Visting Scholar Endowment, which promotes collaboration with international colleagues. Dr. Yanagisawa’s otolaryngological career began at the Nihon University School of Medicine in Japan, followed by acceptance to the Yale University School of Medicine on a Fulbright Scholarship.

Hall of Distinction (Living Legends)

C. Ron Cannon, MDC. Ron Cannon, MDC. Ron Cannon, MD, has demonstrated to be an extraordinary and effective collaborator and champion of the specialty and quality patient care, giving of his time and expertise to his fellow physicians and community at large. Dr. Cannon served as AAO-HNS/F President from 2005-2006, during a time the house of medicine was at a crossroads of change in the healthcare delivery system. He also served as the AAO-HNS Board of Governors Chair from 1999-2000 and as President of the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and was the only private practice representative on the Board during his tenure. His pragmatic approach and adept ability to condense complex programs into resolvable issues marks his career success as a leader, convener, and philanthropist. Dr. Cannon was awarded the Jerome C. Goldstein, MD Public Service Award in 2016 for his dedication, passion, and longstanding commitment to improving the lives of those around him through his participation and leadership in medical mission trips, local free clinics, mentoring of residents and students, and much more.

Dr. Cannon has been in private practice in Mississippi since completing his training at the University of Virginia. He was enrolled in the inaugural Daiichi Clinical Scholar Program in 2002 and also obtained a master’s degree in health service administration in 2012. In February 2024, he published a new book, Reflections on a Career in Medicine: Notes from the Field, to encapsulate his memories and experiences throughout his career and further invest in the fellowship of society.

Lee D. Eisenberg, MD, MPHLee D. Eisenberg, MD, MPHLee D. Eisenberg, MD, MPH, is a highly revered colleague throughout the specialty who is recognized for his work in practice management and mentorship. Dr. Eisenberg has made countless contributions through his active involvement with the AAO-HNS/F beginning as a critical driver of the Board of Governors (BOG) socioeconomic advocacy effort before serving as Coordinator for Practice Affairs, Coordinator for Government Relations, Coordinator for Development, and Associate Editor for Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. He created the Eisenberg Health Policy Resident Leadership Grant for resident education in the areas of leadership and advocacy. His philanthropy has continued as a donor to the Hal Forster, MD Endowment, Millennium Society, and ENT PAC. Most recently he has been a strong proponent of and an active participant in the AAO-HNS mENTor program, which connects medical students to otolaryngologists as an investment in the future of the specialty.

Dr. Eisenberg is the recipient of numerous awards, including the AAO-HNS Presidential Citation (2000) and the BOG Outstanding Service Award (2005). He completed his residency at the University of California, San Francisco, and earned his master's in public health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York, New York. He maintained an active private practice for over 38 years in Eagleton, New Jersey, and served as chief of the Division of Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery at Harlem Hospital in New York. He is a founder partner of ENT & Allergy Associates and president of KJM Healthcare Consulting.

Jesus E. Medina, MDJesus E. Medina, MDJesus E. Medina, MD, a pioneering and international leader in innovative research, clinical advancement, and patient health, has devoted his career to the care of patients with head and neck cancer and the education of residents and the future of otolaryngology. He has served in the distinguished positions as the Paul & Ruth Jonas Chair in Cancer Treatment and Research, Chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Oklahoma University (OU) (for 17 years) where he was responsible for rebuilding the program, President for the OU Physicians clinical group practice, and Associate Vice Provost for Clinical Programs and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at OU, as well as Board member for the AAO-HNS/F and as President of the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery where helped rebuild relationships with the Academy.  He was also the president of the Triological Society, the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) and Society of Head and Neck Surgeons.

Dr. Medina has received numerous awards including the Otis Sullivant Award for Perceptivity, AAO-HNS Distinguished Service Award, the American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Oncology Award, and two AHNS Presidential Citations. He is also a civic leader in the community, actively volunteering his time for numerous medical and humanitarian programs. Dr. Medina was born in Peru, coming from a long line of family members who were otolaryngologists. He completed his otolaryngology residency at Wayne State University School of Medicine and did a fellowship in head and neck surgery at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. 

Cherie-Ann O. Nathan, MDCherie-Ann O. Nathan, MDCherie-Ann O. Nathan, MD, is a surgeon-scientist internationally recognized for her commitment and contribution to patient care, humanitarianism, and investment in the future of a diverse specialty through mentorship and engagement. Dr. Nathan is the Jack Pou Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at LSU-Health in Shreveport, Louisiana. She is also Director of Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery and Research at the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center. Her prestigious research career has focused on head and neck squamous cell cancer, which has received funding from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health. She has served on both the Board of Directors for the AAO-HNS/F and American Board of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, the American College of Surgeons Board of Governors, and as President of both the Association of Academic Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the American Head and Neck Society. 

Dr. Nathan has received many awards including the Athena Award, Leonard Tow Humanism Award, AAO-HNS Distinguished Service Award, and 2020 Margaret Butler Outstanding Mentor of Women in Head & Neck Surgery Award. She completed her otolaryngology-head and neck surgery residency and head and neck fellowship at University of California, San Diego. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins where she started her research career. Her passion to improve outcomes for patients with head and neck cancer was the reason she moved from Mumbai, India, where she went to medical school.

Gregory W. Randolph, MDGregory W. Randolph, MDGregory W. Randolph, MD, an international leader and convener of the global otolaryngology community, surgeon-scientist in endocrinology, and humanitarian, served as President of the AAO-HNS/F (2016-2017) and as International Coordinator (2009–2013). Dr. Randolph is currently the Claire and John Bertucci Endowed Chair in Thyroid Surgical Oncology and Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Harvard Medical School, as well as Director of the General Otolaryngology and Thyroid/Parathyroid Endocrine Surgical Divisions at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Dr. Randolph was the first otolaryngologist member of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, the first otolaryngologist member and council member of the International Association of Endocrine Surgeons, and the first otolaryngologist and U.S. surgeon to be board-certified in endocrine surgery in the European Union.

Dr. Randolph is currently the Chair of the Administration Division of the American Head and Neck Society and has served on the Board of Directors, Surgical Liaison for the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology. He is also currently the President of the International Thyroid Oncology Group. Dr. Randolph received the distinguished honor of being inducted into the American College of Surgeons Master Surgeon Educators Academy. He led thyroid surgical missions to St. Petersburg, Russia; Guangzhou, China; Kenya; rural India; and the Chernobyl region of Ukraine. He founded and directs the Harvard Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery Course for surgeons and has directed international surgical courses in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Russia. Dr. Randolph trained at Cornell and Harvard Medical Schools. Dr. Randolph’s leadership and pursuit of excellence has directly led to otolaryngology’s current position as leaders in the field. His dedication to medical student education has steered the expansion of the Academy’s medical student program.

Dana M. Thompson, MD, MS, MBADana M. Thompson, MD, MS, MBADana M. Thompson, MD, MS, MBA, a visionary and national thought leader, has demonstrated an impeccable commitment to diversity in medicine and actualizing patient-centric, value-based, and equitable care delivery models. Dr. Thompson is the Division Head of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the Lauren D. Holinger Professor and Chair of Pediatric Otolaryngology at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her perspective as a third-generation African American physician navigating a career in academic medicine has shaped a personal mission to educate others about the unintended consequences of bias in healthcare delivery. As Vice Chair for the Department of Surgery and the Executive Physician Director for Ambulatory Practice at Lurie Children’s Hospital, she is committed to equitable and fiscally responsible care for children. Dr. Thompson is the recipient of the AAO-HNS 2013 Helen F. Krause, MD Trailblazer award, the American Laryngological Association 2015 Gabriel Tucker Award, and the Triological Society Mosher Award. She delivered one of the most memorable AAO-HNSF John Conley, MD Lecture in 2019 on Medical Ethics and served as President of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association.

In addition to published research, Dr. Thompson has delivered countless presentations in the areas of clinical and scientific research, practice development, physician burnout/wellness, and bias in healthcare to audiences around the world. Dr. Thompson received her undergraduate and medical degrees in the six-year BA/MD program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is fellowship-trained in both laryngology and pediatric otolaryngology. 


More from June 2024 – Vol. 43, No. 6