Published: September 28, 2020

Fostering a Global Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Community through Connection and Engagement

The AAO-HNSF Global Affairs Program is multifaceted and offers a multitude of ways to connect and engage with the otolaryngology community from around the world. Guidance and leadership for the program come from the AAO-HNSF Coordinator for International Affairs, J. Pablo Stolovitzky, MD, and the International Advisory Board (IAB).

The AAO-HNSF Global Affairs Program is multifaceted and offers a multitude of ways to connect and engage with the otolaryngology community from around the world. Guidance and leadership for the program come from the AAO-HNSF Coordinator for International Affairs, J. Pablo Stolovitzky, MD, and the International Advisory Board (IAB).


The oceans barely separate us these days. The more we work together, the more we share our skills, our talents, our passions, our selves; The more each expansive length shrinks down, and we are just one community.

— Excerpt from a poem written for the AAO-HNSF Global Affairs Program, presented at an ASAE Research Foundation event

“These words aptly describe the growth and forward momentum of the Academy’s global outreach over the years and, more recently, some remarkable gains. Our accomplishments are not ours alone; they are to be shared and celebrated by all who have laid the groundwork, past and present, and all who continue to give freely of their time in weaving the world of otolaryngology as we work together to achieve our goal of being recognized as a global collaborator in advancing the specialty,” said Dr. Stolovitzky.

An important component to the Academy’s international outreach efforts is the work of the IAB, which is to counsel leadership on AAO-HNSF engagement with the global community of otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons, creating new opportunities for international communication and collaborative work. A special thank you to Immediate Past IAB Chair Sady Selaimen da Costa, MD, PhD, from Porto Alegre, Brazil, who completed his term in September 2020. His commitment to connecting the global otolaryngology community has provided a strong foundation for future efforts and endeavors, to be led by the current Chair, Karl Hoermann, MD, from Mannheim, Germany.

“With its outstanding reputation and unparalleled scope of influence, the AAO-HNSF is ideally placed to promote the excellence of professional standards, to contribute decisively toward the consolidation and expansion of global relations, to reinforce collaboration with regional organizations, and to secure a strong and unified voice among medical specialists,” said Dr. Hoermann.

The following outlines just a few ways in which the Global Affairs Program brings together the world of otolaryngology.

International Observership Directory

The AAO-HNSF maintains a directory of U.S. otolaryngology organizations or departments that offer international observerships. International observerships allow eligible international physicians the ability to shadow U.S. physicians and learn more about the specialty of their choice. Access to the directory can be found at For questions about the database or to add a U.S. otolaryngology institution to the directory, contact

International Corresponding Societies

Past Coordinator for International Affairs, Eugene N. Myers, MD, FRCS Edin (Hon), developed a unique program of International Corresponding Societies (ICS) that affiliates with the Academy on a peer-to-peer level. ICS leaders meet informally with Academy leaders for discussions on issues of mutual interest. There are currently 75 ICS in the program. To view the full list, go to

International Awards, Grants, and Scholarships

The AAO-HNSF offers a variety of grants and scholarships to aid and encourage those who further the mission of otolaryngology on an international scale. These include the following:

  • International Visiting Scholarships (IVS): Every year, the AAO-HNSF offers a limited number of scholarships to junior academics from low-resource countries in order to attend the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO Experience and participate in an academic observership at a U.S. otolaryngology department or institution (arranged independently by the candidate). The IVS is open to all candidates who meet the eligibility requirements. Additional IVS opportunities exist with specific eligibility criteria to promote Academy participation from a given nationality, gender, or subspecialty.
  • Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Awards: The AAO-HNSF Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Public Service and Humanitarian Awards recognize the achievements of non-U.S. otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons. The awards are in fulfillment of the AAO-HNSF’s aim to foster a global otolaryngology community and are made possible through the generosity of Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD, a longtime advocate of AAO-HNSF international affairs.
  • Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service: This exceptional award is given each year to a member who is widely recognized for a consistent, stable character distinguished by honesty, zeal for truth, integrity, love, and devotion to humanity, and a self-giving spirit.
  • The Harry Barnes Endowment Travel Grant: The AAO-HNS, in collaboration with the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, provides travel grants to assist with needed funding for meritorious, young residents of African descent from the United States, Caribbean, or Canada to participate in career-molding education experiences while attending the AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting and the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO Experience.
  • Humanitarian Travel Grants: The Humanitarian Efforts Committee supports AAO-HNS members to serve humanity’s needs throughout the world. These travel grants are awarded to residents in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery to give a period of professional service to the people of a low-resource country, focusing on international patient care, preventive medicine, and education.

Annual Meeting & OTO Experience

The AAO-HNSF International Symposium is a dedicated component and track of the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO Experience designed to showcase cutting-edge content, including Expert Series and Panel Presentations, which are presented by international physicians. It provides a global perspective of relevant and current topics in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.

During the Annual Meeting, the IAB General Assembly is held in which there is robust engagement from around the globe. Regional Roundtable Discussion Groups are held and divided into the following roundtables: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Latin America. Attendees from these geographic regions share ideas, best practices, and insights on issues facing the specialty.

During the traditional face-to-face Annual Meeting, Global Affairs also supports a Humanitarian Efforts Forum, the International Young Physicians Forum, and the International Women’s Caucus.

Joint Meetings

Since its inception, the AAO-HNSF has cultivated ties to national otolaryngology societies and similar organizations around the world. AAO-HNSF assigns great importance to these relationships that collectively advance the otolaryngology specialty in ways no one society can achieve alone. While the COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled or postponed some of the current AAO-HNSF joint meetings, the Academy maintains an updated list on its website.

Learn more about the initiatives of the AAO-HNSF Global Affairs Program by visiting



More from October 2020 – Vol. 39, No. 9