Published: April 4, 2018

Candidate Statements

This month’s Bulletin highlights the exceptional work of the Nominating Committee, chaired by Gregory W. Randolph, MD, in selecting the group of outstanding candidates for office that you will see in the subsequent pages. The Boards of Directors have just approved a new Strategic Plan that will guide us over the next three to five years, as well as the new theme and logo seen on our cover this month.

Election opens May 7, 2018

James C. Denneny III, MD

This month’s Bulletin highlights the exceptional work of the Nominating Committee, chaired by Gregory W. Randolph, MD, in selecting the group of outstanding candidates for office that you will see in the subsequent pages. The Boards of Directors have just approved a new Strategic Plan that will guide us over the next three to five years, as well as the new theme and logo seen on our cover this month. It is imperative that as members, you take the next step and vote for your preferred candidates who will help guide us through the treacherous waters of “healthcare reform” and accomplish our goals described in the plan.

Voter participationVoter participation

You can read each candidate’s vision for the future and how they would contribute to Academy/Foundation success prior to making your decision. I invite you to take advantage of the opportunity to ask additional questions of the candidates through ENTConnect at Questions will be accepted through April 27. Please submit them to

Unfortunately, we have seen a decline in voter participation during our annual election process over the last several years, as seen in the chart at left. Given the critical need of leadership during the time of transition to a new system, this is the perfect time to reverse that trend and make your opinion known. The voting process is simple, and it will take less than two minutes to complete the ballot. You might notice that there is only one candidate for President-Elect this year. One of the original candidates withdrew from the election due to personal and family considerations.

How to cast your vote

AAO-HNS has partnered with Election America to administer the 2018 election of candidates for leadership positions. To ensure your election-specific broadcast email arrives safely in your inbox on May 7, simply add the following email address as an approved sender: Those who have not provided an individual email address to the Academy will receive a personalized letter from Election America with information on how to access the ballot. For technical support, please call 1-866-384-9978 or email For ballot-related questions, call Membership at 1-877-722-6467 or email Lisa Holman at

president-elect | candidate statements

Duane J. Taylor, MD

Duane J. Taylor, MDDuane J. Taylor, MD

Colleagues, it is truly an honor to be considered for this position. Our Academy plays a vital role in the progress of our specialty, and if elected, I will certainly support the goals outlined in our Strategic Plan. The goals I propose are not novel or complex and have been recognized by our Academy. What is essential is that they remain relevant as our healthcare environment changes (practice models, population, healthcare teams). It is also essential that the pursuit of these goals continues to involve our diverse membership.

The continued presence of a strong advocacy component that listens, informs, mobilizes, and responds to our members remains an important part of our organization. Our strength to effect change is not just in our numbers but in our ability to speak as one and to collaborate.

The goal of maintaining the highest quality of care within our specialty and taking control of it is essential to our members and our patients. The implementation of Reg-entSM has set the stage for our membership to keep pace with the current demands on clinical outcomes and the required metrics.

We must continue to strengthen the efforts for diversity and inclusion in our leadership, committees, and membership. The value of having voices represented from all aspects of our membership (SRF, WIO, YPS, Diversity Committee, etc.) continues to be relevant in strengthening our Academy for the future.

Finally, a goal of “Wellness” for those that practice in our specialty has become a priority thanks to our Academy. All of us deserve to be healthy and have satisfaction with what we do as we care for our patients. A goal meant to not just sustain us but fulfill us and allow us to flourish.

In the broadest sense, our goals should be supportive of our membership and our needs and committed to the concept of delivering the best care to our patients. Implementation of these objectives will be transformative as we move into the future.

The involvement of members in private practice in our Academy continues to become even more critical, and improved engagement can be achieved in a variety of ways. The first is through outreach efforts of our BOG; there is nothing like this as an introduction and entrance to involvement in our Academy. The registry, Reg-ent, which is up and running now, and the health and wellness efforts of our Academy (when in full swing) will be attractive and encourage involvement.

Finally, we must continue to be innovative in our communication strategies to the private practice physicians. The outcomes measures developed from participation, surveys, and outreach opportunities at the Annual Meeting will serve as valuable feedback. As the pendulum continues to shift with practice models, I believe there will be greater opportunities to retrieve this type of information.

The future of our specialty remains bright as long as we continue to strive to deliver the highest quality of care to our patients and keep our membership unified, inclusive, informed, and engaged.

candidate statements | director-at-large: academic


Q: What do you think the Academy should do to support wellness for our members? How has your previous involvement in the Academy prepared you for the role of Director-at-Large of the AAO-HNS/F?

Louise Davies, MD, MS

Louise Davies, MD, MSLouise Davies, MD, MS

I am honored to be a candidate to serve our Academy. Focusing on wellness can help increase the quality of care and decrease errors as it simultaneously helps us thrive as individuals. The Academy does a wonderful job of this by promoting a supportive community, for example, through electronic tools for group problem solving, such as ENTConnect, and I would welcome the chance to create more such opportunities. One way for us to do this is by inviting our members to define and execute on shared purposes and goals that we identify together. I seek to serve our organization by fostering this welcoming atmosphere, eliciting energy, ideas, and innovative approaches from our membership.

Through my research in cancer epidemiology and the science of healthcare improvement, and experience in administrative leadership roles in the VA, I have become comfortable bringing disparate groups together to create consensus and finished products of which participants can feel proud. I will bring these experiences to the organization that is the standard setter for our specialty. By listening to others and adding value from my various experiences, I hope most of all to be of service to our membership.

Valerie A. Flanary, MD

Valerie A. Flanary, MDValerie A. Flanary, MD

Physician burnout is at crisis level and wellness is a priority. The Academy can support wellness by addressing some of the outside stressors on the physician. These include working with industry to improve EMR, advocating with legislators for proper reimbursement, and decreasing the burdens of RVU production and paperwork. The Academy can provide resources for physicians in distress, including creating a wellness repository of information, working with state societies to provide anonymous mental healthcare, and potentially forming a network of mentors who can provide support. Establishing a culture of support and wellness starting at the medical student level and then showcasing these initiatives at national meetings and other educational activities would demonstrate commitment to this support. Collaboration with other organizations would allow concentration of manpower and resources, achieving these goals more quickly.

By definition, the Director-at-Large should provide the Boards with perspectives that represent the varying interests and concerns of the membership. As a founding member of the Women in Otolaryngology Section, I worked to level the playing field and provide opportunities for women in leadership, recognition, and participation in the organization. As Chair of the Diversity Committee, I lead initiatives to promote diversity through education, provide cultural competency, and increase opportunities to non-majority members of the Academy. As a member of the Physician Wellness Task Force, I became more aware of the stressors affecting our community. As an ex officio member of the Board, I have been able to work closely with leadership to identify current needs of the membership. These roles have led to mindful interactions and conversations with members across all of our specialty. These experiences have positioned me well to be a voice and advocate for the membership.

director-at-large: private practice | candidate statements


Q: What do you think the Academy should do to support wellness for our members? How has your previous involvement in the Academy prepared you for the role of Director-at-Large of the AAO-HNS/F?

William R. Blythe, MD

William R. Blythe, MDWilliam R. Blythe, MD

I have been a member of the Alabama Physician Health Committee for 12 years. This committee is appointed by the Board of Medical Examiners to support the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the physicians of Alabama. I have participated in the Physician Wellness Program since 2001, and it is one of the most meaningful and fulfilling aspects of my life.

I believe it is important for the Academy to assimilate a list of resources available on the national, state, regional, and local level. Instead of providing these resources ourselves, I believe it is more effective and pragmatic to provide a list of available resources and to leave it to the experts. We should provide venues for 12-step meetings and burnout discussion groups at all national and regional meetings. We should create a hotline for members to call for help and a list of volunteer members willing to work with those in need.

I am a member of a small group practice in rural Alabama. As such, I have focused my service work on my local hospital, community, county, and state organizations. I have held every leadership position at our medical center, where I currently serve as Past Chief of Staff and Chairman of Credentials Committee. I served as President of our State Society for several years.

My involvement with the Academy has matured later in my career. I served on the CPT/RVU Committee and Annual Meeting Program Committee, where I learned extensively about those processes. My strongest contribution has been as foundational member of the Reg-entSM Executive Committee, where I currently serve as Chairman of the Sinus and Allergy CAC. That position has allowed me to work extensively with the Academy leadership and staff, as well as many of the leading experts in our specialty.

Elizabeth H. Toh, MD, MBA

Elizabeth H. Toh, MD, MBAElizabeth H. Toh, MD, MBA

Physicians are held to some of the highest professional and performance standards. This in conjunction with the demands of EMR and efforts to boost patient satisfaction while meeting regulatory and productivity demands threaten our personal health and well-being. Our current national physician burnout rate is extraordinarily high at 46 percent.

What is needed is a fundamental culture change in medicine. One that honors our limits, recognizes the importance of physician well-being, destigmatizes interventions to address stress and burnout, and prioritizes programs to develop personal resiliency and professional fulfillment.

The Academy can lead this effort on many fronts. Through ENTConnect, we can develop a support network that provides a safe forum for peer support and mutual learning. The Academy can also develop educational programs directed at stress management, wellness strategies, work-life balance, and work redesign. Lastly, the Academy can support efforts to reduce the bureaucratic burdens associated with professional maintenance of certification for our specialty.

As a recent graduate of MIT’s business school, Vice Chairman of our Department, and in various leadership roles in my own organization, I have had the opportunity to develop programs that are essential to continuing successful clinical practices, develop diverse cross-functional teams, drive operational change, and build patient-centric clinical programs.

Having served on multiple AAO-HNS/F committees, including the International Otolaryngology, Facial Nerve Disorders, Implantable Hearing Devices, Otology, and Neurotology Education Committees, I understand the value of education, research, and professional collaboration in strengthening and advancing our specialty.

In my role as Regional Advisor to the Asia Pacific-Rim for the Academy, I have had the unique opportunity to engage and partner with our international colleagues to develop collaborative educational and training initiatives which leverage both the expertise of our members and the resources of our Academy, extending the impact of our Academy far beyond our borders.

candidate statements | nominating committee: academic


Q: What attributes will you seek in our future Academy leaders? What experience do you have that will aid in selecting leaders that will advance the mission of the Academy?

Gregory A. Grillone, MD

Gregory A. Grillone, MDGregory A. Grillone, MD

The importance of selecting strong, capable leaders to serve the AAO-HNS cannot be overstated. The healthcare environment is changing rapidly. Payment reform, performance metrics, billing regulations, accountable care models, and physician burnout are just a few examples of the changing healthcare landscape that require visionary, inspirational, and knowledgeable leaders of the highest integrity who can navigate our specialty through this challenging period in healthcare. I will seek leaders with these attributes to ensure that the AAO-HNS membership is well-informed and well-represented so that we can continue to provide the highest quality and safest care for our patients.

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve in many leadership roles in my career, including 10 years as a representative to the Board of Governors of AAO-HNS, President of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association and the New England Otolaryngological Society, Associate Chief Medical Officer and President of the Medical Staff at my home institution, and currently as Chair of the Secretaries Liaison Committee for COSM. I believe that these experiences have given me a deep understanding of the organizational structure, mission, and needs of the AAO-HNS as well as the knowledge and insight to recognize high-caliber leaders.

Amber U. Luong, MD, PhD

Amber U. Luong, MD, PhDAmber U. Luong, MD, PhD

As a petite Vietnamese refugee, I personally understand that sometimes when we look in the mirror or at others, we may not see the image of the typical leader. On the Nominating Committee, I envision opportunities to identify otolaryngologists of all backgrounds and expertise to empower them to make a difference for our society and profession. I will seek leaders who have diverse perspectives and leaders with passion. Overall, my goal will be to identify future Academy leaders that can inspire.

I have had the opportunity to collaborate with many different types of leaders through my numerous activities within several professional societies. I am a founding member of the Women in Rhinology within the ARS. In addition, I am active in several committees within the Academy, including the Rhinology & Allergy Education Committee; the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Committee; the Rhinology & Paranasal Sinus Committee; and the WIO Communications Committee. I serve on the AAOA Foundation. In addition, I have organized several regional rhinology and general ENT courses with invited national speakers. Moreover, I have been an invited faculty to several national and international ENT meetings. This extensive network will serve well to identify ideal future Academy leaders with diverse backgrounds.

David J. Terris, MD

David J. Terris, MDDavid J. Terris, MD

We are fortunate to have a tremendous pool of talented and willing members who are anxious to advance the mission of our great society. I will be especially interested in identifying a diverse group of enlightened, forward-thinking individuals who will put the needs and priorities of the Academy ahead of their own. Important attributes will also include collegial/collaborative, bright/thoughtful, and inclusive.

As a former department Chair and Vice President for Clinical Affairs at my institution, making recruitment and hiring decisions was a fundamental part of my responsibilities. I have also been fortunate to serve in a leadership role for many of our societies (including the Triological Society, ACS, AHNS, ATA, AACE, SUO, and others), which has given me an up-close look at outstanding leaders in our field. Finally, I have had the opportunity to serve on the nominating committee for numerous organizations, and have been successful in selecting high-performing candidates for leadership positions.

Mark E. Zafereo, Jr., MD

Mark E. Zafereo, Jr., MDMark E. Zafereo, Jr., MD

The Academy should continue to expect leaders with commitment to service within and beyond the specialty: diverse servant leaders of varying age, gender, ethnicity, practice setting, subspecialty, and geography who embody common qualities of both servant and leader—integrity, humility, vision, grace, and |strength of character.

I have been given opportunities to serve in numerous leadership, task force, and committee roles spanning a wide breadth of the AAO-HNS, benefiting greatly from the wisdom and example of past and current Academy leaders who have advanced the specialty in patient care, public education, and health policy advocacy.

The strength of the Academy is its membership, both the talent of its individual members and the broad representation of the specialty. Some have particular gifts to understand the economics of health policy and payment reform; others to mobilize grassroots efforts to influence legislation; some to push the frontiers of research; others to improve evidence-based clinical care guidelines. While any one person cannot possess all, effective servant leaders of the Academy will harness and inspire the wealth of gifts and diversity within Academy membership, so that the Academy will continue to be true to its mission: to empower otolaryngologists to deliver the best patient care.

nominating committee: private practice | candidate statements


Q: What attributes will you seek in our future Academy leaders? What experience do you have that will aid in selecting leaders that will advance the mission of the Academy?

Sunshine M. Dwojak, MD, MPH

Sunshine M. Dwojak, MD, MPHSunshine M. Dwojak, MD, MPH

Excellent leaders have a vision, listen to and motivate others, and set a clear direction for the organization. In this rapidly changing world, we need leaders who understand change and openly promote it. We need leaders who are socially intelligent and able to listen to those around them. We need leaders who understand the interconnection between healthcare, industry, government, and the International community. We also need leaders who reflect the growing diversity of our country.

Having served on admission committees, institutional review boards, and minority health organizations throughout medical school and residency, I bring to the table a varied set of leadership experiences. I currently serve on several Academy Committees as well as lead the head and neck cancer quality effort for Northwest Permanente. These experiences have shown me the importance of collaboration in leadership, of seeking out diverse viewpoints, and truly listening to the people you work with. If elected to the nominating committee, I would seek to promote diverse, collaborative candidates who are passionate about the future of our field and committed to the task of improving the quality of otolaryngology care and education for everyone.

Soha N. Ghossaini, MD

Soha N. Ghossaini, MDSoha N. Ghossaini, MD

Given the ongoing changing demands of healthcare regulation and economics, we must seek leaders who can recognize such challenges and who are capable of directing the change in a way that would benefit the specialty as a whole. Our future leaders should be able to cater to our diverse membership, listen to their concerns, and motivate them to be more involved.

I have been fortunate to be involved at the Academy at an early stage of my career as a member of various committees, Board of Governors, a few task force groups, Women in Otolaryngology Section, and International Steering Committee. Such experience helped me better understand the structure of the Academy and its role. During my 1-year leadership training at the AAO-HNS Leadership Institute Endowed Scholars program, I had the chance to interact and shadow a few of our Academy leaders. This experience provided me with an insight into their role and the challenges they learn to overcome, which I believe would help me in better selecting our future leaders.

Lisa C. Perry-Gilkes, MD

Lisa C. Perry-Gilkes, MDLisa C. Perry-Gilkes, MD

The Academy’s vision statement is “Empowering otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to deliver the best patient care.”

To achieve this vision, qualities of our Academy leaders have been and remain dedication, being well informed of changes in healthcare legislation, academic advancement, and parity for our members with a true love for our profession. Because of the wealth of extraordinary and diverse candidates available to choose from, they will need to be discerning, measured, and fair. These individuals understand that their decisions impact our members who they are beholding to. Through their actions, they ultimately impact on patient care.

My experience is varied within the Academy as well as held leadership positions in the California Medical Association, Medical Association of Georgia, National Medical Association, American Medical Association, and the Harry Barnes Society.

I had the pleasure of being a member of the Diversity Committee since its inception and was the second Chair. This allowed me to sit on the Board of Directors and participate in the Board Meeting & Standard Review Task Force of 2016. As a member of the Board of Governors for 11 years I have been on the BOG Nominating Committee. In closing I have passion for our Academy!

Karen A. Rizzo, MD

Karen A. Rizzo, MDKaren A. Rizzo, MD

Future Academy leaders should be well-rounded, insightful, open-minded individuals who are progressive in their thoughts and mindful of all perspectives. They should be team players who are willing to learn from others and share experiences that optimize the well-being and performance of otolaryngologists and the healthcare team. They should support political, practice, and patient advocacy to enhance the best outcomes possible for otolaryngology.

I feel as Past President of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, with its 16,000 members and sizeable influence in the legislature and media, I will be able to identify leaders that enhance and improve the AAO-HNS’s functionality to optimize outcomes for our specialty and patients. Because of having led a successful private practice for 27 years, being a Hall of Fame women’s basketball player for Villanova University, as well as Past President of the Pennsylvania Academy of Otolaryngology, winning two state model awards, I feel I am uniquely qualified to identify leaders who can strengthen the working relationship between state and national societies to improve communications, share important legislative and socioeconomic issues, and build a team approach to enhancing otolaryngology care in all practice settings.

candidate statements | audit committee


Q: What is your particular experience or interest that would make you an effective member of the Audit Committee of the Academy?

William R. Bond, Jr., MD, MBA

William R. Bond, Jr., MD, MBAWilliam R. Bond, Jr., MD, MBA

As a long-term member of the Academy, I am honored to be nominated for the position on the Audit Committee. This is a time of great change in healthcare. There are mergers of physician groups and hospitals, consolidations of insurance companies, and the development of new financial models. We are privileged to have an Academy with foresight to lead us into this new millennium of healthcare. To continue that leadership role, we must continue to manage our resources effectively. Therefore, having a well-run Audit Committee is important to the viability of our Academy.

I am a member of the BOG, a State Tracker, Millennial Society member, and ENT PAC contributor. During the Chicago Annual Meeting, I was a panel participant discussing national healthcare issues.

I have held leadership roles in my local hospital and in a large medical organization, while also obtaining an MBA to improve my skill set to navigate large organizations.

In prior years as a U.S. Naval Reserves Captain, I had the financial responsibility of managing five reserve units and supported a Marine Corps battalion during the Gulf War.

My academic affiliations are: Associate Professor at Howard and Georgetown Universities.

Currently, I am in private practice in Washington, D.C.

Selena E. Briggs, MD, MBA, PhD

Selena E. Briggs, MD, MBA, PhDSelena E. Briggs, MD, MBA, PhD

I have a sustained commitment to and sincere fervor for the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, which stems the past decade of my career and continually grows. Having experience in business administration, I have a unique skill set to share as an aspiring member of the Audit Committee where as a team we will work to ensure that the Academy’s mission and vision are maintained in a fiscally responsible manner. Business is my passion and financial analysis/accounting are among my strengths. It is my desire and commitment to utilize my skills and business aptitude to the best of my ability for the furtherance of the Academy and the insurance of its vibrant future. Since completing a Masters of Business Administration with honors over 10 years ago, I have had the opportunity to utilize my business acumen in various personal and professional arenas, including the founding and development of various clinical programs, directorship at a major academic institution, and as a consultant in clinical practice audits, clinical practice solvency analyses, and healthcare revenue cycle management. I have benefitted greatly from the AAO-HNS/F and aspire to continue to serve the Academy in turn.

More from April 2018 – Vol. 37, No. 3