Published: July 22, 2022

2022 Service and Leadership Awards

A special thank you to the membership for all the nominations received for the 2022 AAO-HNS/F service and leadership awards.

Hayley L. Born, MDHayley L. Born, MDThe Holt Leadership Award for Residents and Fellows-in-Training

This year’s awardee, Hayley L. Born, MD, has been an active member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO–HNS) since her second year of residency at the University of Cincinnati. There, she served as a program and regional representative for the Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training (SRF).

The description of the Holt Leadership Award highlights honesty, integrity, fairness, advocacy, and enthusiasm. Dr. Born not only embodies these traits, but she also works to lift up and encourage her colleagues, setting her apart as she develops herself as a leader within the specialty. She has held several leadership positions within the SRF, including two years as the appointed delegate to the Society of University Otolaryngologists Head and Neck Surgeons.

When she was voted onto the Governing Council (GC) as the Board of Governors (BOG) Socioeconomic and Grassroots Representative (SEGR), she instituted a fun “term of the month” initiative on SRF social media accounts to help residents understand the role of the BOG. She is serving her second term as Member-at-Large on the GC during her laryngology fellowship, where she works with junior moderators to ensure that AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting Panel Presentation proposals are well crafted and include impactful topics and panelists.

Dr. Born has also served on many AAO-HNS committees, most within the Women in Otolaryngology Section, including the Leadership Development and Mentorship, Program and Awards, and Communications Committees. In 2019 she received the WIO Exemplary Senior Trainee Award for her excellence in leadership and mentorship inside as well as outside the organization.

Ehab Y. Hanna, MDEhab Y. Hanna, MDJerome C. Goldstein, MD Public Service Award

Ehab Y. Hanna, MD, is recognized with the Jerome C. Goldstein, MD Public Service Award. He is currently a professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Division of Surgery, at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in Houston. Dr. Hanna has devoted his life to improving the welfare of patients with head and neck cancer, sinonasal cancer, and skull base tumors. He strives to improve the quality and value of patient care through his extensive clinical efforts and research and has dedicated himself to educating physicians and surgeons in the delivery of excellent care.

Dr. Hanna has led education initiatives on a large scale within the MDACC as well as nationally within the specialty of head and neck surgery, while maintaining a devotion to teaching and training individual medical students, residents, and fellows. Dr. Hanna has trained over 100 fellows and residents, most of whom have gone on to careers in academic head and neck surgery. On a local level, he has led the MDACC Head and Neck Center as the executive medical director of Ambulatory Care, a multidisciplinary clinic with over 100 employees and more than 10,000 annual unique patient visits.

Dr. Hanna is recognized as one of the national and international leaders in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and is an especially effective teacher in the operating room. In addition to his many clinical, research, and administrative duties and service in national organizations within the specialty, he meets regularly with individual medical students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty to provide invaluable one-on-one mentoring and career guidance.

Thana H. Nassir, MD, PhD, FICMSThana H. Nassir, MD, PhD, FICMSNikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Humanitarian Award

Thana H. Nassir, MD, PhD, FICMS, longtime advocate for and supporter of the AAO-HNS/F, is the recipient of the Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Humanitarian Award. Dr. Nassir is best known for her dedicated and selfless service to the poor in her native country of Iraq, particularly during times of war and conflict. Her colleagues have recognized her for her unlimited charitable support for those who are disabled or displaced from their homes and in need of medical attention but who could not otherwise afford surgery.

Dr. Nassir is a skilled surgeon and consultant at the Iraqi ORL Head and Neck Surgery National Center in Baghdad. She is also a supervisor at the Iraqi Higher Education Institute and the Graduate Iraqi and Arabic Board and was president of the Iraqi Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery for eight years.

Dr. Nassir’s Iraqi colleagues shared moving letters of gratitude written by the parents of children on whom she operated at no charge. One family’s son needed a critical operation, which the family could not afford due to difficult circumstances. Dr. Nassir performed the surgical procedure at no cost to the family.

According to one colleague, her charitable contributions are without limit, calling her a pleasant, sincere, honest, and compassionate person and professional who has earned the respect and admiration of all who know her. Dr. Nassir has received many letters of gratitude and appreciation from and through the Iraqi Ministry of Women, the Iraqi Ministry of Health, the Iraqi Commission for Higher Medical Specialization in Otolaryngology, and more.

Emmanuel D. Kitcher, MBChB, FRCS, FWACS, FGCPSEmmanuel D. Kitcher, MBChB, FRCS, FWACS, FGCPSNikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Public Service Award

This year’s awardee for the Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Public Service Award is Emmanuel D. Kitcher, MBChB, FRCS, FWACS, FGCPS, who, after completing his training in otolaryngology in the UK, returned to his native country of Ghana and established an ENT department at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, the capital of Ghana. According to a colleague, Dr. Kitcher’s perseverance, dedication, and devotion to his department as well as the entire hospital community are legendary as he lived on campus and was available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for more than two decades.

Currently an otolaryngologist consultant at Korle-Bu, he is also an associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Ghana Medical School in Accra. When not lecturing in the medical school, Dr. Kitcher can be seen on ward rounds teaching medical students, residents, and consultant colleagues. He displays deep compassion and consideration for patients of all ages.

Some of Dr. Kitcher’s major achievements include establishing an ultramodern audiology center at Korle-Bu, acquiring and developing space to house 10 well-furnished outpatient consulting rooms, starting a master of science (MS) degree program in audiology and speech and language therapy at the University of Ghana, supporting otolaryngology nursing and theatre nursing training programs, providing and refurbishing operating theatre equipment, and much more.

To date, Dr. Kitcher has mentored more than 20 otolaryngology specialist surgeons and has made it his objective to promote otolaryngology ancillary services by training nurse specialists, perioperative nurses, audiologists, and speech and language therapists. Graduates of his MS program are now supporting otolaryngology-head and neck treatment and surgery throughout Ghana. 

Edward E. Dodson, MDEdward E. Dodson, MDDistinguished Award for Humanitarian Service

This year’s Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service goes to Edward E. Dodson, MD, who, since 1995, has helped the underserved population of the Dominican Republic (DR) through Project Ear, a humanitarian organization that medically assists patients who are financially unable to access hearing healthcare. Dr. Dodson has served as president of Project Ear since 2000, when the organization became an official nonprofit.

Underserved from an otolaryngologic perspective, the DR has no fellowship-trained otologists. Under the guidance of Dr. Dodson, Project Ear has completed nearly 60 weeklong biannual trips with over 1,200 otologic surgeries, 1,500 ear exams, 700 screening audiograms, and 300 hearing aid fittings. Surgeries are performed at a small mission hospital with just four operating rooms and equipment that is nearly 30 years old.

To kickstart Project Ear, Dr. Dodson personally bought two otologic microscopes and shipped them to the DR. He has also helped train a local otolaryngologist who is now performing advanced otologic surgery, including cochlear implantation. Even more impressive has been Dr. Dodson’s impact on resident education—there are now two otolaryngology residency programs thanks to his efforts.

As a professor and neurotologist at The Ohio State University, Dr. Dodson plans his next medical mission by gathering supplies that would otherwise be discarded by the hospital, obtaining new equipment (often personally funded), and recruiting volunteers. He also invites surgeons from other otolaryngology-head and neck surgery subspecialties to help train residents in techniques with which they may not be familiar.

Dr. Dodson’s dedication to global health has touched thousands of patients’ lives in the DR and instilled a sense of compassion and dedication to hundreds of trainees both American and Dominican.

More from August 2022 - Vol. 41, No. 7