Published: March 28, 2022

AAO-HNS 2022 Election: Candidate Statements

Review statements from the 2022 AAO-HNS Annual Election candidates to learn more about each candidate. Voting opens May 9.

How to Cast Your Vote

AAO-HNS has partnered with YesElections (powered by Election America) to administer the 2022 election of candidates for leadership positions. To ensure your election-specific broadcast email arrives safely in your inbox on May 9, please make sure you have provided an individual email address to the Academy. You can check your email currently on file by logging into your profile at

Video statements from the candidates are also available to view here.


(Vote for one of two)

Questions posed to the Candidates

  • What experience and attributes do you have that prepare you for this position and why?
  • What is the most important current need of Academy members, and how do you propose to tackle it?

Douglas D. Backous, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F President-electDouglas D. Backous, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F President-elect
Douglas D. Backous, MD

"My core principle is for each of us to practice in our own way that works for our patients, partners, and communities. Protecting the autonomy and integrity of otolaryngology practice requires attention to advocacy, billing, and coding, and making clear distinctions about our identity and what we offer across the healthcare marketplace. We must maintain a “seat at the table” for critical conversations at local and national levels. I am high energy, relational, and focused on clear expectations to drive measurable results. I feel called to address the most important need for our members: to be able to build a meaningful career, respectful of our own wellness and resiliency, while focusing on excellent patient care with minimal non-value-added activities.

Academy advocacy efforts have never in history been as important as they are today. The current political climate creates an opportunity for the collective physician voice to shape policies that will impact our future healthcare system. This is an area where AAO-HNS serves all our specialty societies. With ongoing work on the 3P Workgroup, coordinated lobbying with AAO-HNS advocacy staff, relationships with key political leaders, and knowledge I gained through the Brandeis University Leadership Program in Health Policy and Management, I feel equipped to serve with the language and process understanding necessary to create legislative change.

The AAO-HNS has arrived at a critical time as we rise from the challenges of the pandemic in an uncertain world. Serving on the AAO-HNS Board of Directors and Executive Committee during this time gave me an incredible appreciation of the importance of our organization and its many talented leaders, members, and dedicated staff. By harnessing the best learnings from dealing with COVID-19, we can be an even more effective organization that serves all otolaryngologists. We need to continue to bring together experts and serve as a platform to stimulate creative solutions to common and previously unthinkable problems. I am committed to growing the number of people from underrepresented backgrounds in our field and funding grants to understand the social determinants that create healthcare disparities. My hope is we will continuously enrich our cultural competence to ensure excellent ENT care for all people. I support our Annual Meeting Program Committee efforts to build an increasingly relevant, just-in-time education delivery platform accessible to all. The Academy as a reliable source of practical information is invaluable to reduce stress of members who manage complex disease.

ENT Connect and the Private Practice Study Group are examples of how members are engaging to identify innovative solutions to ensure new graduates and our early career colleagues can thrive in a practice model that they choose. My experience in employed and now independent private practice convinces me of the importance and power of shared ideas and representative leadership. I want each of us, at all career levels, to stand together.

Serving our specialty through the AAO-HNS continues to be one of the most satisfying aspects of my professional career. Thank you for the honor of running for President, and I ask for your vote."

Lance A. Manning, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F President-electLance A. Manning, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F President-elect
Lance A. Manning, MD

"Colleagues and friends, it is a joy to serve in a specialty that unites the best and brightest to collectively care for patients, our communities, and each other. It is an honor to be nominated for President-elect. In preparation for this moment, I have had the privilege to serve in numerous high-level leadership roles within our Academy and elsewhere, and these experiences have provided a broad-based understanding of exactly how our organization and medical specialty operate at the local, state, and national levels.

As a leader on the AAO-HNS/F Board of Directors, Board of Governors, Education Steering Committee, and Executive Committee, I have been directly involved in developing and implementing our current Strategic Plan while creating content, writing policy, and advocating for our specialty. I have seen up close the actual needs and challenges that face practicing otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons while working on the local level as the managing partner at a thriving single-specialty practice, regionally as the Chief of Staff leading an extensive, multi-hospital health system, as a key player in creating a large multi-state clinically integrated network, and at the national level serving in many leadership roles for our Academy and the American Medical Association. 

I have a passion not only for providing excellent care to patients but also for healthcare policy, professional education, and leadership development from our talented ranks. As an active member of our Physician Payment Policy (3P) workgroup and the RUC/CPT team, and as Chair of the Practice Management Education Committee, I am acutely aware of the reimbursement-related challenges within our current practice environment. 

From my vantage point, I consider the need to correct fragmentation as one of the most critical needs facing our specialty and organization. The pandemic has caused many of us to contend with powerlessness, isolation, and socioeconomic uncertainty, and these factors have amplified the fragmentation of our practices and hampered our collective unity within the House of Medicine. Legislation aimed at budget neutrality has pitted clinic-based providers against surgical specialties, resulting in the lowest Medicare conversion factor for reimbursement in over 25 years. Budget limitations impede our ability to adapt to rapidly rising inflation and staffing shortages. Although we, as a single organization, cannot alone change these large-scale conditions, we can nonetheless be an influential voice that promotes multi-specialty collaboration, sharing best practices, and creating valuable practice resources intended to help us weather the storm together. I understand the challenges we face but still remain confident that we can overcome these burdens by celebrating each other, promoting unity, and having a strong commitment to amplifying our diverse collective voice together."

At-Large Director: Academic

(Vote for one of two)

Questions posed to the Candidates

  • What unique attributes do you bring to the Board of Directors?
  • What do you think is the most important item in the Academy’s Strategic Plan, and how do you plan to maximize this for all types of practicing otolaryngologists?

Yuri Agrawal, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F At-Large Director: AcademicYuri Agrawal, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F At-Large Director: Academic
Yuri Agrawal, MD

"I am honored to be considered for the AAO-HNS Board of Directors, a group charged with ensuring that the Academy provides clear value to its members. The unique attributes I will bring to the Board of Directors are based on my experiences as an academic otologist-neurotologist and a clinician-researcher, from which I have learned the importance of having diverse viewpoints to make good decisions, looking at data, and being open to new ideas. I have been fortunate to serve the Academy in a number of roles, including as a member of the Nominating Committee, as a reviewer for the Centralized Otolaryngology Research Efforts (CORE) Grants, as Chair of the Equilibrium Committee, and on the Guideline Development Task Force, and I understand much of the Academy’s work and have met and served alongside many colleagues to further the Academy’s goals.

I think the most important item in the Academy’s Strategic Plan is Quality, specifically enabling our members to successfully deliver the highest quality of care to our patients. The Academy is uniquely positioned to pool resources to create evidence-based guidelines for our specialty; to develop quality metrics that will allow our members in different markets to transition from volume to value-based payment; and to aggregate clinical data via Reg-entSM and lay the foundation for precision medicine in otolaryngology. These are critical efforts that the Academy needs to dedicate a substantial proportion of its resources toward. I think quality also encompasses several other elements of the Strategic Plan that I view as essential, including inclusive diversity and equity, given that the highest quality requires a diverse workforce delivering the highest quality of care to all our patients, and promoting wellness and resiliency for our members, which is also crucial for us to deliver quality care to our patients."

Jeffrey M. Bumpous, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F At-Large Director: AcademicJeffrey M. Bumpous, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F At-Large Director: Academic
Jeffrey M. Bumpous, MD

"I am honored to be considered for At-Large Director (Academic) for the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. I am an actively practicing otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon for 28 years. I am professor and chair of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. I have deep commitment to our specialty, which I regard as the best job ever! We must continue to attract, train, and maintain a caring workforce that honors and serves all patients through support of excellence, compassion, and diversity. I have served on the Board of Governors, serving both my state of Kentucky and the Society of University Otolaryngologists. I currently serve as a Director on the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and have served the board for more than 20 years. I am past president of the Society of University Otolaryngologist and the Association of Academic Departments of Otolaryngology, important organizations in the formative development of academic otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons who form the bedrock for workforce development and our future. I have unbridled enthusiasm for the AAOHNS Strategic Plan: Advocacy, Business of Medicine, Global Outreach, Inclusive Diversity and Equity, Quality, and Wellness and Resiliency. I have experience in each of these areas in my teaching, business, and professional life. Each of these important pillars for our Academy are vitally interrelated. Our workforce should aspire to reflect our patients and society broadly, while continuing to have the brightest and best enter our field and make strong commitments to those we serve. I advocate working through system-based approaches to make the work life of otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons meaningful and unencumbered by administrative hassle and “too many clicks.” Our meaningful work must be acknowledged, advanced, reimbursed fairly, provided broadly, and administratively simplified in these complex times. I appreciate the opportunity to serve our great specialty."

At-Large Director: Private Practice

(Vote for one of two)

Questions posed to the Candidates

  • What unique attributes do you bring to the Board of Directors?
  • What do you think is the most important item in the Academy’s Strategic Plan, and how do you plan to maximize this for all types of practicing otolaryngologists?

Marc G. Dubin, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F At-Large Director: Private PracticeMarc G. Dubin, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F At-Large Director: Private Practice
Marc G. Dubin, MD

"In the spring of 2020, I was honored to participate in the AAO-HNS Future of Otolaryngology Task Force that assembled the COVID-19 guidelines for the return to practice. This focus on the day-to-day practice of medicine, now part of the Academy’s Strategic Plan under the Business of Medicine, is my priority as Chair of the Private Practice Study Group and hopeful AAO-HNS Director. My goal is improving the logistics of medicine, regardless of practice type, despite the headwinds we face. Pre-authorization, declining reimbursement, and increasingly complex regulations impact us all. These burdens don’t discriminate based on practice setting.

I feel that my professional experiences uniquely position me to advocate for all otolaryngologists on this issue. I serve as the president of The Centers for Advanced ENT Care, a 50+ physician otolaryngology group in the Maryland/Washington, DC, and Virginia area, with a clinical practice that focuses on tertiary rhinology. In these roles and throughout my career, I bridge the divide among my private practice, my general otolaryngology partners, and my academic colleagues in the leadership of the AAO-HNS and American Rhinologic Society. Wearing these very different hats resulted in an appreciation for the importance of academicians and private practitioners working together for the best interest of our specialty. It is critical that we focus on our common goals and minimize the frictions that exist below the surface as both practices cannot thrive without the support of the other. 

In summary, my varied professional, clinical, and academic experiences make me an unwavering advocate for the entire specialty. As such, I would look forward to the opportunity for continued leadership in the AAO-HNS with a specific focus on improving the day-to-day practice of medicine for all otolaryngologists. The business of medicine is much more than reimbursement and it profoundly affects us all."

Jeffery J. Kuhn, MD, CAPT, MC, USN (Ret.) Candidate: AAO-HNS/F At-Large Director: Private PracticeJeffery J. Kuhn, MD, CAPT, MC, USN (Ret.)
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F At-Large Director: Private Practice
Jeffery J. Kuhn, MD, CAPT, MC, USN (Ret.)

"The essential tasks of the Board of Directors are to assess the overall direction and Strategic Plan of the Academy, support its mission and vision, and establish new initiatives on behalf of the membership. The Directors should have leadership experience and have demonstrated integrity, ingenuity, and commitment in those endeavors. I have served in many leadership positions in the past 30 years as an otolaryngologist/neurotologist and in various practice types including military academic and non-academic, university academic, and now in private practice for the past seven years. I have served on six Academy/Foundation Committees and completed a three-year term as a member of the AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee. I am a member of the recently established Private Practice Study Group. I received the Distinguished Service Award in 2015.

The 2021 Academy Strategic Plan added three areas of focus including Wellness and Resiliency. Physician burnout has become an important issue throughout the medical specialties and is now receiving increased attention within our Academy. As much as we attempt to maintain a work-life balance in our professional career, there is great potential for physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Excessive bureaucratic tasks, long work hours, lack of respect from administrators/employers, insufficient compensation, increased computerization of practice, and lack of control/autonomy are several factors that contribute to the erosion of physician well-being. A recent large-scale survey of otolaryngologists (Medscape, 2021) showed that 33% reported burnout/burnout with depression and that 71% considered it serious enough to have at least a moderate impact on their lives. Seventeen percent (17%) of these otolaryngologists have had suicidal thoughts. I would expand the current “Wellness Team” initiative in the form of a Task Force that would interface with other Foundation Committees and Academy Sections to identify factors unique to the otolaryngologist and to propose evidence-based solutions."

Nominating Committee: Academic

(Vote for one each type of two)

Questions posed to the Candidates

  • What experiences have you had that will allow you to identify a diverse set of candidates for Academy leadership?
  • What are the most important attributes you look for when nominating a member for leadership within the Academy?

Nausheen Jamal, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: AcademicNausheen Jamal, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Academic

Seat 1:

Nausheen Jamal, MD

"The diversity of our organization is vast—with our mix of private and academic practice, urban and rural, and our various subspecialty and comprehensive colleagues—each adding valuable perspectives to the field.

However, we still have work to do to improve the inclusivity, equity, and racial and gender diversity in otolaryngology. Increasing representation of minorities in our field, especially at the leadership level, is critical to our future success. If elected, I commit to advancing inclusive representation in AAO-HNS at its highest echelons and will seek diverse candidates who embody values of integrity, diligence, and professionalism.

This focus on inclusive diversity is more than just words for me. As a former program director and as a current department chair and diversity and inclusion officer (DIO), inclusive diversity is at the core of everything I do. I am proud to serve at one of the largest minority-serving institutions in the country, with more than half of our otolaryngology faculty and over 60% of our house staff coming from underrepresented backgrounds. For years, I have committed to caring for populations with deep-seated healthcare disparities. If elected to serve, I will bring this same commitment to equity and diversity to the Academy in identifying our future leaders."

Rodney J. Taylor, MD, MSPH Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: AcademicRodney J. Taylor, MD, MSPH
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Academic
Rodney J. Taylor, MD, MSPH

"It is with a great pride and purpose that I seek election to the Nominating Committee for the Academy. As an academic otolaryngologist and chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the call to service has always been a passion and priority. In addition to leading a department committed to excellence in education, patient care, and research, numerous experiences have shaped my ability to identify a diverse set of candidates for Academy leadership. Examples include my institutional leadership in curriculum development and instruction for unconscious bias in healthcare, service on the Academy Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and chair of University of Maryland Faculty Group Practice Nominating Committee. Recently, I was proud to receive the University of Maryland Dean's Faculty Award for Diversity and Inclusion for my work in advancing the values of inclusion and equity. When nominating a member for Academy leadership, demonstration of a record for valuing the perspective of a broad set of stakeholders and a commitment for including diverse talent when program building is important. It would be my honor to contribute to our Academy's future leadership, ensuring that it supports the values of fairness and equity, while protecting our stake in a competitive healthcare environment."

Michael J. Brenner, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: AcademicMichael J. Brenner, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Academic
Seat 2:

Michael J. Brenner, MD

"The AAO-HNS/F is the largest organization of otolaryngologists in the world and capturing the diverse perspectives of our membership is critical for building a shared future. I am a talent scout, and one of the greats joys of my career has been engaging, growing, and promoting diverse future leaders. I have done this as Chair of Centralized Otolaryngology Research Efforts (CORE), Chair of the Outcomes Research and Evidence Based Medicine (OREBM) Committee, Co-chair of Patient Safety and Quality Improvement (PSQI) Committee, and in Clinical Practice Guideline development. You inspire our excellence, and my greatest privilege is making your voice heard.

We are so much more than meets the eye, yet we are often judged faster than a blink. Serving on the Nominating Committee, I will champion evidence-based practices shown to improve both the rigor and quality of searches. An affinity for common subspecialty, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or geography can eclipse foundational attributes of vision, integrity, and service necessary to propel our organization forward. By applying standards from National Academy of Medicine and other think tanks, we can sharpen our thinking on equitable leadership. Doing so values our diverse perspectives in private practice, academia, and military across the career continuum."

D. Gregory Farwell, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: AcademicD. Gregory Farwell, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Academic
D. Gregory Farwell, MD

"Bringing a slate of incredible and diverse candidates, with all their unique experiences, is the critical role of the Nominating Committee. Finding those ideal leaders requires broad insights and presence throughout the field and knowledge of the skills that would best address the issues facing otolaryngology. I have had the privilege to practice otolaryngology and chair departments from coast to coast. I have made innumerable connections with otolaryngologists in every setting. Through my leadership and significant involvement in the Academy, Society of University Otolaryngologists, American Head and Neck Society, and other societies, I have a deep understanding and appreciation of the immense talent within the AAO-HNS and am committed to nominating a diverse, skilled group of leaders for our Academy.

We need inclusive and passionate leaders who actively seek input from the members to guide decisions. We need leaders who are aspirational and dedicated to our specialty, with a proven track record of commitment and accomplishment. At such a dynamic time, nominating members to AAO-HNS leadership takes on extra importance. It would be my honor to work on behalf of our membership to find those candidates."

Nominating Committee: Private Practice

(Vote for one each type of two)

Questions posed to the Candidates

  • What experiences have you had that will allow you to identify a diverse set of candidates for Academy leadership?
  • What are the most important attributes you look for when nominating a member for leadership within the Academy?

Stephen P. Cragle, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Private PracticeStephen P. Cragle, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Private Practice
Seat 1:

Stephen P. Cragle, MD

"As a recent guest editor of Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America (February 2022) on “The Business of Otolaryngology,” I communicated with more than 40 diverse thought leaders in otolaryngology. I have spent many years networking in private practice and presenting at and attending the Annual Meeting. I am a founding member of the Millennium Society where I have met many Academy leaders. I am a member of Practice Management Education Committee with many networking opportunities in committee work. I am a founding member of the Academy’s newest study group, the Private Practice Study Group and am active on ENT Connect. I attend the Board of Governors’ Spring and Fall meetings, and the Young Physicians Section meeting.

I look for a sense of stewardship, of giving to the greater good; a passion for otolaryngology science and practice; a thought leader in our specialty who is able to collaborate well with other leaders. A clear vision of our specialty’s future means more than a list of past accomplishments."

D. Scott Fortune, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Private PracticeD. Scott Fortune, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Private Practice
D. Scott Fortune, MD

"Academy service ranging from task force to Rhinology and Allergy Education and Legislative Affairs Committees, involvement in ENT PAC, attending Academy and leadership meetings during the Board of Governors exposed me to past, present, and future leadership of the Academy. Seeing who was previously chosen and how they function to run the Academy has given me the insight to help select the next generation of leaders.

Most important is commitment to the Academy mission, demonstrating care and concern for well-being of Academy members over their own advancement or recognition. Our leaders should be effective listeners and focused on development of talent, demonstrate innovative thinking, strategic planning, and adaptability to meet many challenges facing otolaryngology. Finally, leaders must be ethical and able to communicate effectively with a diversity of individuals and understand the needs of the broad spectrum of Academy members. Having seen such leaders in my Academy roles allows me to see these qualities and to help select the best candidates to serve the AAO-HNS."

Darius Kohan, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Private PracticeDarius Kohan, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Private Practice
Seat 2:

Darius Kohan, MD

"Emigrating as a teenager from communist Eastern Europe where my family belonged to a minority that experienced persecution, and later being welcomed in the melting pot of New York City, has shaped my views of the world to appreciate the contributions of diversity and tolerance. Participating in numerous Board of Governor and AAO-HNS committees over a 30-year career, I witnessed the outstanding leadership and dedication to patient care demonstrated by our membership. Most evident, the otolaryngology community was, dare I say, heroic during the pandemic, risking their personal health in managing the airway of patients before there were any vaccines. Private practitioners particularly took a severe blow during the pandemic trying to preserve their offices and staff, yet everyone did their best for our patients. Members organized, protocols were developed in collaboration with our peers in all fields of medicine, and patients benefitted. I witnessed leadership qualities come to the forefront. We have many challenges and opportunities facing us. I intend to nominate the most deserving otolaryngologists to leadership positions based upon merit and ability to represent our ever more diverse membership throughout the country. Leadership must reflect the needs of both private practitioners and academicians, the geography and demographics of our country, and the vision of the Academy for a brighter future."

Douglas D. Reh, MD Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Private PracticeDouglas D. Reh, MD
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Nominating Committee: Private Practice
Douglas D. Reh, MD

"My career has provided a unique perspective and experience that has sufficiently equipped me for service on the AAO-HNS Nominating Committee. I began my career as an academic rhinologist and skull base surgeon at the Johns Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. After 10 years at Johns Hopkins, I left for a new opportunity. In 2018, I became a partner in The Centers for Advanced ENT Care, LLC. In this role, I have been able to continue to build a thriving private practice in Baltimore County, Maryland. In my career as an academic and private practice otolaryngologist, I have been active in both the AAO-HNS and American Rhinologic Society and have networked with both academic and private practice otolaryngologists. These experiences have afforded me a unique perspective on the goals and challenges for both physician member groups in the AAO-HNS.

As a member of the AAO-HNS Nominating Committee, I would seek to use my experiences to identify and recruit a diverse group of talented otolaryngologists whose skill sets are best suited for each position. I will nominate candidates who have demonstrated leadership in their academic or private practices, work well with others in a team environment, and whose peers respect their honesty and integrity."

Audit Committee

Question posed to the Candidate:

  • What qualifications or experience allow you to be an effective member of the Audit Committee of the Academy?

Cecelia Damask, DO Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Audit CommitteeCecelia Damask, DO
Candidate: AAO-HNS/F Audit Committee
Cecelia Damask, DO

"As a solo private practice comprehensive otolaryngologist in the greater Orlando, Florida, area, I am honored to be considered to serve as Audit Committee Member. The Audit Committee plays a unique role in sustaining the legacy of the AAO-HNS/F. The Audit Committee executes an important role in confirming that the budget is aligned with the Academy’s Strategic Plan, thus ensuring that the AAO-HNS/F is financially sound and able to accomplish even greater things in the future. Having served on the Finance Committee for the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) for six years, I have training in the ability to evaluate and understand financial statements, which will help me be an effective member of the Audit Committee.

During this rapidly spreading global pandemic, I have found a great sense of gratitude for our Academy. I have been an active member serving on various AAO-HNS/F committees. It is through this work and interactions with other Academy members that I have a developed a deep appreciation of the value of the AAO-HNS/F to the practicing otolaryngologist. 

If I am given the opportunity to serve on the Audit Committee, it will be an honor and a privilege to serve our Academy and its members ensuring the AAO-HNS/F’s continued success in the future."

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