Published: August 26, 2019

Education: core to our mission

This has been an exciting time for Foundation education. From spending this past year on an extensive assessment of the Academy’s education offerings to charting a course for the future of education, much work has been done by the education volunteers and Foundation education team led by Tirza Lofgreen, CHES, Director of Education.

This has been an exciting time for Foundation education. From spending this past year on an extensive assessment of the Academy’s education offerings to charting a course for the future of education, much work has been done by the education volunteers and Foundation education team led by Tirza Lofgreen, CHES, Director of Education.

Richard V. Smith, MD, has been an inspiring and dedicated Coordinator for Education over the last four years. Through his hard work, Foundation professional development has evolved to the highest levels in offerings, enrollments, and engagement through AcademyU. The Foundation thanks Dr. Smith for his tireless efforts and devotion to education and ongoing support of staff and volunteers who have worked with them.

In this issue of the Bulletin, many of these accomplishments are highlighted. We also have a change in leadership with Dr. Smith finishing his term as Coordinator for Education and Jeffrey P. Simons, MD, assuming this leadership role.

We celebrate our successes and set the stage for the future of Foundation education.

Richard V. Smith, MD, AAO-HNSF
Coordinator for Education

At the end of September, my term as AAO-HNSF Coordinator for Education will come to an end. Over the past four years, I’ve had the privilege of working with a dynamic group of Education Committee Chairs, a strong cadre of committee members across the breadth of the specialty, and a talented Foundation education team—all of whom care deeply about how we educate ourselves and care for our patients. It has been quite a journey!

Each year has brought new opportunities to engage the profession on different levels and find ways to advance the Academy’s mission of lifelong learning. I’d like to highlight some of our most impactful accomplishments of the past four years:

Education Infographic


The recent completion of OTOSource, the single-source online repository for otolaryngology education, is a highlight of my term. More than 200 otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons authored 226 modules for the 11 subspecialty units. This was a monumental effort initiated in 2015 under the direction of Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, and developed by the Comprehensive Curriculum Task Force and Work Group, composed of representatives from all otolaryngology subspecialty societies. The Academy Education Committees are currently working on adding annotated surgical procedure videos for 170 topics, an important addition to traditional education offerings. It has also been exciting to learn how Sarah N. Bowe, MD, has started to use OTOSource and COCLIA with her residents at Fort Sam Houston, TX. Although many consider this a resident benefit, it is meant to be a comprehensive resource for physicians at any stage of their career, linking to important education content across the specialty.

ABOHNS initiatives

In August 2018, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (ABOHNS) announced a new collaboration to expand opportunities for ABOHNS diplomates to receive Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credit by participating in accredited continuing medical education (CME). Through this collaboration, the AAO-HNSF offers MOC credit for new and current CME activities in AcademyU and at the Annual Meeting. In addition, beginning in 2020, the Academy will award 10 CME/MOC credits annually for diplomates participating in ABOHNS CertLink™. This new education initiative will also enable diplomates the ability to seamlessly access AcademyU activities to address specific knowledge gaps.

New guideline for creating unbiased education content

In October 2018, we removed an AcademyU Patient Management Perspectives (PMP) course as it had culturally insensitive and biased language. Although this course was created nearly a decade ago, it quickly brought to light an opportunity to improve the way we approach education in our specialty and to develop a guideline to ensure we are creating unbiased education content. We were one of the first specialties to address this important topic at the Academy level.


The Academy’s online education has grown exponentially over the years in terms of course offerings and major technology platform enhancements. In 2015 when my term began, there were 234 courses, and now it has grown to 1,373. I have tremendous respect for our Education Committee faculty members who have given their time and expertise to develop these courses while juggling demanding clinical and academic responsibilities. As of August 2018, AcademyU now supports a fully responsive web design across all technology platforms with an improved search functionality and quick links to the latest releases. Over the past four years, we’ve maintained our commitment to ensure AcademyU provides our members the knowledge, education, clinical tools, and professional support to help you meet the challenges in your otolaryngology practice and build mastery throughout your career. We continually reassess our courses to incorporate new and interactive learning formats.


It is clear that an important and expanding component of medical education involves simulation. One of my earliest priorities was to form a Simulation Education Committee to develop and incorporate simulation across our education offerings. The Annual Meeting will offer 10 sessions, plus a preconference workshop on six simulated otolaryngology emergencies. In addition, the annual SIM Tank competition and Simulation Reception will showcase innovative and novel otolaryngology simulators and simulations projects.

Member+ Campaign

Ensuring members have access to AcademyU through an affordable subscription model was a high-priority for me during my term as Coordinator. In September 2017, we debuted this exclusive “200 CME courses in AcademyU for the price of one subscription,” and it quickly gained positive traction. Now in its second year, we have more than 2,545 subscribers, surpassing last year.

I have been an active member of our Academy since residency, serving in many capacities, and I started serving on the Academy’s Education Committees in 2002 as a Home Study Course author. It has been a true honor to participate in the education efforts and developments of our Academy, and I am very proud of all our group has accomplished. As in so many other aspects of our Academy, I’ve seen tremendous evolution, expansion, and improvement since beginning my involvement in 1993. It is clear that we have a forward-facing, future-oriented Academy in which education is core to its mission. I am confident the ability of our Academy, through its volunteers and education staff, to adapt and excel will keep us at the forefront of educational innovation and excellence.

Thank you to all who have helped us fulfill our commitment to excellence and our specialty!

More from September 2019 – Vol. 38, No. 8