Published: February 23, 2016

Halftime report

March finds me at the halfway point in my presidential year and the three-year cycle that encompasses it. Now is a good time to reflect on that process, and on what has been done, will be done, and the people who are doing it.

Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD AAO-HNS/F Past PresidentSujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD
AAO-HNS/F Past President
March finds me at the halfway point in my presidential year and the three-year cycle that encompasses it. Now is a good time to reflect on that process, and on what has been done, will be done, and the people who are doing it.

I spent a year as president-elect, serving on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, learning how our and other organizations work, doing the intricate work of Academy and Foundation committee assignments, and being mentored by then-President Gayle E. Woodson, MD. In October, I took over the reigns as president, and this October I will hand them off to Gregory W. Randolph, MD. As immediate past-president, I will continue Board and Executive Committee service, chair the Nominating Committee that selects our future leaders, and (hopefully!) provide some useful advice and institutional memory. The past-president is often tasked with projects that have ongoing impact on our Academy and our Members.

Dr. Woodson is chairing the International Task Force, and James E. Saunders, MD, is the Foundation’s coordinator for International Affairs. Their efforts will be visible at the International Symposium at September’s Annual Meeting in San Diego. It will run concurrently with the other academic offerings—Instruction Courses, Miniseminars, Orals (free papers)—and is open to all Annual Meeting attendees. We hope that this will usher in an era of stronger scientific and collaborative dialogues between U.S. and overseas colleagues.

I have established the ENT Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Education Task Force, chaired by Karen T. Pitman, MD, and Peter D. Costantino, MD. It is made up of Members and ENT physician assistants interested in exploring education opportunities unique to this audience. I am grateful to the Society of Physician Assistants in Otorhinolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery (SPAO-HNS) for supporting our Foundation in this very important endeavor. I have every confidence that this task force will put together a comprehensive ENT APP curriculum, utilizing many Academy resources. Establishing such an educational outline will really help our Members as they seek to incorporate APPs into their practices, and dovetail into our initiative to offer associate membership to ENT PAs.

The huge Academy project this year is the creation and implementation of our Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR), RegentSM. This is a Herculean task that has been spearheaded by the Foundation’s coordinator for Research and Quality, Lisa E. Ishii, MD, MHS, and EVP/CEO James C. Denneny III, MD, with the help of dedicated Academy staff and physician volunteers Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, David L. Witsell, MD, MHS, Robert R. Lorenz, MD, MBA, Jennifer Shin, MD, SM, David R. Nielsen, MD, and Rodney P. Lusk, MD. It has moved from an idea to near-shovel-ready in under a year. The vendor (FIGmd, Inc.) for the interface between physician EMRs and Regent has been engaged, the data dictionary has been populated, and QCDR and PQRS Qualified Registry submissions were delivered to CMS in January. It will roll out by this spring at 38 pilot sites representing all types of ENT practices.

The reason to establish our own registry is to take control of our own measures, so that otolaryngologists are assessed using meaningful criteria. Quality improvement triangulates between Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs), which define quality, the data registry, which tracks quality, and Performance Measures, which assess quality. The Performance Measures development task force consists of Dr. Rosenfeld (chair), Dr. Ishii, Dr. Denneny, Jane T. Dillon, MD, MBA, Julie L. Goldman, MD, Richard V. Smith, MD,
Dr. Nielsen, and Peter M. Vila, MD, MSPH.

Some clinical issues and questions we address in an ongoing fashion. These are raised from individual Members, committees, or specialty societies, and brought to the Guidelines Task Force, which meets twice yearly and is headed by Chair David E. Tunkel, MD (immediate past-chair Seth R. Schwartz, MD, MPH). A result of such a discussion is the Intraoperative Facial Nerve Monitoring Task Force, chaired by Sonya Malekzadeh, MD. In the queue for 2016-2017 are clinical practice guideline (CPG) updates on cerumen, BPPV, hoarseness, tonsillectomy, polysomnography, and sudden hearing loss. New CPGs are being developed for rhinoplasty and evaluation of the neck mass in adults.

I have just managed to scratch the surface of what is being done at our Academy and Foundation. Halfway through my term, I remain humbled by the dedication of our staff and volunteers—who are busy people and leaders in their field and yet find the time to contribute so much. I look forward to seeing your name highlighted in the future.



More from March 2016 - Vol. 35, No. 02

New task forces focus on education
By Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, AAO-HNSF former Coordinator for Education The AAO-HNS/F has assembled four education task forces to address important issues concerning our Members and the profession. I am honored to be involved in many of these efforts and to serve as chair for two of these groups. The Simulation Task Force was formed in 2011 to define the current state of simulation, to investigate its role and future potential in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and to provide educational resources for AAO-HNS Members. Under the leadership of Ellen S. Deutsch, MD, the Simulation Task Force has accomplished: Initiation of Simulation Open Forums, at both the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings (COSM) and the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM, has brought together like-minded individuals to discuss interests, challenges, and opportunities in simulation. An active ENTConnect community engages simulation Members in ongoing collaboration and exploration. Launch of the SimTube Project, a national initiative for simulation-based educational research with the immediate goal of assessing the usefulness of a low-cost, low-tech simulator in learning myringotomy and tube placement, and the larger goal of establishing an infrastructure that could support multiprogram collaboration for more complex simulation-based educational research in the future. More than 60 U.S. residency programs now participate in the study. Numerous Annual Meeting Miniseminars highlighting current education efforts and advanced technology in simulation while also demonstrating the value of simulation in quality of care and systems improvement. Recognizing the expanding role of simulation in education, research, and quality, the task force has recently submitted an application to become a Foundation committee. This new designation will permit a formal and permanent structure for furthering Member opportunities and engagement. Dr. Deutsch and Gregory J. Wiet, MD, will chair the committee. The Comprehensive Curriculum Task Force stemmed from the 2013 Board of Directors Strategic Planning meeting where Academy leadership acknowledged the need for a core curriculum in otolaryngology. The Otolaryngology Comprehensive Curriculum will serve as a lifelong, continually expanding learning and assessment tool for otolaryngology professionals. The content and structure will meet the needs of students, residents, allied health colleagues, and all practicing physicians engaged in MOC and lifelong learning. The online format will cover the otolaryngology scope of knowledge, provided in various educational formats, to guide and address cognitive and technical skills. The “living” content will be kept current with frequent updates so users can be assured they are participating in a rich and growing educational program. The task force believes this to be an ideal opportunity to unite the specialties around education, reduce duplicative efforts across societies, and to provide a comprehensive education platform for our specialty. A working group comprised of society representatives is finalizing a list of topics and performing an inventory of all existing education content across the specialties. This information will inform the development of future education programming. The Intraoperative Nerve Monitoring Task Force, in existence since fall 2015, will address key issues relevant to facial nerve monitoring during otologic and neuro-otologic surgery. With representation from the American Neurotology Society (ANS) and the American Otological Society (AOS), the task force will focus on: Determining current practice in training and performance of nerve monitoring among Academy Members and Residency Program Directors. Developing education activities that will provide uniform and standardized training for otolaryngologists to safely and successfully perform the procedure. Clarifying the AAO-HNS/F perspective on intraoperative nerve monitoring within the specialty. AAO-HNS President Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, proposed the latest group, Advanced Practice Professionals (APP) Education Task Force. With the growing presence of mid-level providers in otolaryngology practices, it is imperative that we provide our colleagues with proper education and training in our field. These efforts will improve their contributions to our practices and patients while also educating AAO-HNS Members on the benefits of including APPs in the profession. In collaboration with the APP societies, including SPAO-HNS, the task force will design educational programing and provide resources that will allow advanced practice providers and otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to work synergistically to improve patient care. “I have every confidence that this task force will put together a comprehensive ENT APP curriculum, utilizing many Academy resources. Establishing such an educational outline will really help our Members as they seek to incorporate APPs into their practices” said Dr. Chandrasekhar. Karen T. Pitman, MD, and Peter D. Costantino, MD, will serve as chairs of this new task force. Academy task force Members are working hard on topics critical to the Academy and the profession. “These education task forces really complement the work of the education committees by addressing new and innovative education opportunities for our Members,” said Richard V. Smith, MD, coordinator for Education. If you are interested in more information or contributing to any of these projects please email