Published: November 4, 2015

Otolaryngology legends

A Century of Excellence, published in 1996 commemorated the 100th anniversary of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and its predecessor organizations—the AAOO, the AAO-HNS, and the ACO. This comprehensive tome, detailed the growth of the specialty and the people who positively influenced its course.

M. Eugene Tardy Jr., MD, is a pioneer you can honor with a contribution

tardyA Century of Excellence, published in 1996 commemorated the 100th anniversary of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and its predecessor organizations—the AAOO, the AAO-HNS, and the ACO.

This comprehensive tome, detailed the growth of the specialty and the people who positively influenced its course.

The book’s structure moves through the development of educational prowess and formation of a socioeconomic and political council to address changing Member needs. It culminates with the 1982-1986 merger of the AAO-HNS and the ACO that formed the AAO-HNS/F highlighting the extraordinary efforts of a few “pioneers” who forged onward.

M. Eugene Tardy, Jr., MD, is one of those individuals.

Since Dr. Tardy’s otolaryngologic residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago, where he was executive resident, he has served as a leader. His subsequent facial plastic surgery fellowship led to an academic position there in 1968. In Illinois, he taught and combined a dedication to medical students’ training with patient care. He has published extensively in all formats and become a sought-after guest lecturer. He has served in many leadership roles including the presidency of the AAO-HNS/F, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), and the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto).

As one of the newly formed organization’s first presidents (preceded by Drs. Pratt, Sisson, Gross, and Boles), he understood the importance of his role. His first Bulletin column began this way, “It is safe to state that we have emerged from a major organizational metamorphosis to create a democratic, professional, and business-like medical specialty organization now well prepared to encounter and exercise judgment and control over the future affairs of the specialty.”

This extraordinary statement encapsulated the vision and sense of purpose that have continued to define Dr. Tardy’s professional life and his influence on this specialty for many years.

Building a home

One of the first things Dr. Tardy initiated in his presidential capacity at AAO-HNS was the groundwork for finding a brick-and-mortar home for the young organization. He knew that as much as anything, a physical home would embody the stable, unifying, efficient presence that he and his colleagues believed otolaryngology to be. That idea, promulgated strongly by Byron J. Bailey, MD, led to the purchase of One Prince Street in 1989 and eventually grew into the Greater Academy Campaign that raised sufficient donations to buy out the mortgage on the building in 1996, the 100th anniversary year of the Academy.

Changing the face of education

Dr. Tardy, meanwhile, had championed a method for analyzing facial plastic reconstruction needs that has had a lasting effect on determining patient outcomes and educational procedures presentations. He developed a format of photographic case documentation emphasizing not only pre- and post-op analysis but also emphasizing long-term follow-up photographic documentation. These presentations became the standard for quality educational teaching formats that continue to be the starting point from which today’s new presentation formats are measured. All of otolaryngology benefited from this innovation.

Ethics and unity

It may be in the area of ethics, however, that Dr. Tardy best foresaw the future of organized medicine, urging the Academy to adopt a code of ethics. “All of medicine is presently beset by critics, who, often with justifiable cause, launch public attacks upon the motives and ethics of the modern physician,” he wrote. He believed that a code would guide those in need of help, even though “the overwhelming majority of physicians … retain those values of deep concern for the patient, excellence of effort and outcome, and selflessness so characteristic of the virtues considered essential in all who care for patients.” This code has been part of the new Member initiation since that time.

As an outgrowth of this concern, he championed the then controversial idea for re-certification as another way to ensure both the perception and reality of quality patient care: “Maximum strength lies in preserving a strong central focus within otolaryngology as a whole for as the whole is strengthened, the special interest subspecialty groups will be better served and represented at the national and interspecialty levels.” Recertification indeed has become an accepted process in the delivery of quality care.

Editor and author

Dr. Tardy also served as the founder of Facial Plastic Surgery Monographs, as well as serving on the editorial boards of the Archives of Otolaryngology, The Laryngoscope, the Annals of Otolaryngology, and the Yugoslavian Journal of Otolaryngology. Academic contributions include authoring or co-authoring 18 medical textbooks and more than 160 scientific articles. Dr. Tardy set a standard for the quality of photo documentation and long-term follow-up he presented in his lectures. As a highly respected surgeon he was invited to participate at more than 400 venues as guest professor/faculty lecturer at universities worldwide.

His honors

Dr. Tardy founded the first University of Illinois, Chicago, facial plastic surgery division within the department, and served as the consultant for the Craniofacial Anomalies Center of the university.

Now emeritus professor, during his career he held the title of professor of clinical otolaryngology both at the University of Illinois and Indiana University School of Medicine, as well as instructor at Northwestern University.

Among other professional leadership responsibilities, Honorary Fellowships and memberships have been awarded to Dr. Tardy by the Jacques Joseph Society, The Royal College of Medicine of Great Britain, the Australian Society of Otolaryngology, the South African Society of Otolaryngology, the European Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, the Columbian Otolaryngology Society, the German Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the Austrian Academy of Otolaryngology, the German Society for ENT-Head and Neck Surgery, the Rhinoplasty Society, the Polish Society of Rhinology, the Philippine Society of Otolaryngology, and the Brazilian Society Plastic Surgical Society. In addition, he was awarded the Distinguished Presidential Citation Award of the AAO-HNS in 1990 and 2011.

A new way to honor legends in the field

The AAO-HNSF Legends of Otolaryngology is a new initiative beginning this fall. The Legends of Otolaryngology is a fundraising program that will honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. Our first Legend is M. Eugene Tardy Jr., MD.


More from November 2015 - Vol. 34, No. 10