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2018 Newsletter v3
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Communications Committee Update

The Communications Committee continues to be charged with providing a mechanism to keep members of our Society informed of up-and-coming news and events, and key issues facing the Society. To this end, I am pleased to continue our last newsletter of the 2018 season. This newsletter will highlight and summarize the accomplishments and activities of the Society over the course of the year.

This year’s SUO/AADO/OPDO Combined Meeting took place between Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington, DC. At the same time, the program coordinators met on Saturday, November 10, 2018. The meeting was a resounding success. Attendance has increased over the last number of years, from 287 in Chicago (2014) to 339 in DC (2018), indicating the strong interest in this didactic format and the strength of the organizations. While the weather was not perfect, the venue and the meeting itself were of the highest quality.

I have asked Dr. Brian Nussenbaum of the ABOHNS to provide a summary of where the Board is proceeding in the upcoming year as well as updates from 2019 SUO President, Dr. Anand Devaiah and the Otolaryngology Program Coordinators Association.

Please feel free to contact myself, any of the executive group or the Society in general regarding any particular topics you would like addressed, or issues you would like to see in our newsletter.

Chair, SUO Communications Committee

Presidential Update

It is a singular honor and privilege to serve all of you as President of SUO this year. I am delighted to share a few thoughts with you about our recent Annual Meeting and directions for the coming year.

The 2018 Annual Meeting, “Academic Otolaryngology Across the Career Continuum,” was a great success and set new records in attendance again this year. This included an illiuninating faculty development session led by Dr. Aviad Harmati, and keynote presentations by Drs. Darrell Kirch and Colin West. Many thanks to the members of the Program Committee, which was led by Howard Francis, and included Brian Nussenbaum, Bevan Yueh, and Stacey Gray. It was my pleasure to serve on the Program Committee as well, and I look forward to leading the Program Committee this year. Of course, the most important reason why the Annual Meeting was a success is because of all of you; you gave your time and effort to serve as speakers, panelists, and participating audience members. It is incredible how much talent, expertise, and energy our members have and bring every year to the Meeting. The post-meeting survey results will be summarized in a future newsletter, but the overall impression of the Annual Meeting was overwhelmingly positive.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our colleagues at ACS for their hard work to help make the meeting a success, and for their support of the SUO/AADO/OPDO triad of societies. Denise Goode, Emily Maurer, Katie Fitzgerald, Kathy Madryk, and the rest of the team at ACS have been a pleasure to work with.

Given the growth of SUO, both in membership and in activity, we are at an important crossroads. We are working on a number of initiatives to broaden ways that SUO can support you and the missions of your academic departments. Here are a few of the initiatives we are currently exploring:

  • Development of an SUO Grant Award
  • Enacting the Otolaryngology Boot Camp Task Force’s recommendations
  • Building deeper connections with other societies and our common goals
  • Further engagement of residents and medical students
  • Revamping Committee recruitment and structure to broaden involvement
  • Fostering innovations in the academic setting

Our commitment to disseminating information on education, training best practices, professional development, and workforce diversity and equality remains strong and are core to the SUO.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank our Executive Council for the past year, and for the coming year. They have been a pleasure to work with and truly care about the mission of SUO. I look forward to the new leaders coming on board. It is an incredible team of people, and I am truly fortunate to have the chance to work with all of them.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Howard Francis for his leadership this past year. He has been an outstanding leader and friend. His thoughtful considerations and creativity were noted and appreciated by all of us, and have left an indelible mark on the Society. I am delighted that he will be continuing to lend his insight and assistance in his role as Past President.

Thank you, again, for allowing me to serve you as your SUO President. If I can be of service to you, or if you have suggestions for the Society, please do not hesitate to contact me at Best wishes for this Holiday Season, for all who have celebrated and are going to celebrate, as well as a wonderful and prosperous New Year.

Respectfully submitted,

Anand K. Devaiah, MD, FACS
President, Society of University Otolaryngologists

2018 SUO/AADO/OPDO Combined Meeting Wrap-Up

As a first order of business, I would like to inform membership that the presentations from the meeting are all now online at the SUO website and can be accessed via the 2018 Program Page. Shout out to Emily for getting this organized and up and going.

The meeting started with an informative talk and panel on otolaryngology residency applications. Otolaryngology has gone from a plethora and overwhelming number of applications to the bare minimum to even meet the number of spots to this year over 450 applications - an increase of 100 applications over the previous two years. There was good discussion concerning how we can improve the pipeline which seems to be the main driving force. Improved communication with the Dean's office and trying to obtain exposure to raise the level of interest in medical students is of paramount importance. The general consensus seemed to be that we need to continue to be more active in improving the pipeline and monitor what happens over the next few years.

The RRC and the ABOHNS provided an excellent update along with a panel on the milestones, specifically Milestone 2.0.

Research continues to play an important role in otolaryngology training. The panel on the resident research experience engendered great discussion concerning different methods of incorporating research into otolaryngology residency programs. Some programs offer a singular clinical self-directed teaching experience while others put the residents into a research lab in a more structured environment for longer periods of time. The general consensus was that research continues to be an important part of otolaryngology training. Whether it is for one month in a self-directed clinical environment or six months in a dedicated supervised laboratory depends on the resources and facilities available at your particular institution.

We were reminded of the importance of integrative health and wellness and otolaryngology training. A talk on mind-body medicine skills was excellently led by Dr. Aviad Haramati, Professor and Director at the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education at Georgetown University. It was again demonstrated that stress and burnout continue to be factors at play in otolaryngology. Addressing these early on in residency training allows for the development of a skill set and mind-body awareness that hopefully will improve a physician’s future lifestyle and maintain a healthy working environment.

The first of two keynote sessions was led by Dr. Darrell Kirch, President and CEO of the AAMC who covered a broad variety of topics. Disruption, while unpleasant, created new leadership comparatives and multiple avenues for the successful incorporation of different strategies to accommodate change. Uncertainties in healthcare ranging from congressional and executive action to changing demographics bring about a need for a proactive approach to the healthcare environment was also addressed. A discussion concerning how, if we wish, to preserve our academic mission in the face of constraints and increased limitation by margins, we will need to integrate into the administrative healthcare force burnout inequity division and injustice are things that we all face and will need to address in the upcoming years. Leadership will be more about team and multiple wires as a competency.

Dr. Anna Messner moderated a discussion based panel on countering the hidden curriculum and managing challenges and professionalism. As I look over the presentation which is available on the website, at least one of these scenarios plays out at my institution on a weekly basis. The methodology of recognizing these micro-aggressions and how they occur and recognizing how they contained our educational process was fascinating. I would strongly suggest that a review of this panel should be mandatory for all residents.

Finally, the session on onboarding new residents and best practices covered several topics important to the development and integration of residents into the training program. Vertical mentorship, horizontal mentorship, cultural mentorship, and systemic systems-based mentorship were all areas that can be incorporated into facilitating the integration of residents into the residency and institutional programmatic culture set as well as the use of different methodologies based on the institution improve the work environment. Burnout mindfulness is improved by improving the teaching culture. Most importantly, addressing these issues as they pertain to the different generational groups entering the field of medicine is important.

It was a great meeting and please remember to answer the survey so we can make it even better next year.

Chair, SUO Communications Committee

American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Update

The American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery gave an update regarding activities most pertinent to academic otolaryngologists-head and neck surgeons and residents. The name of the organization changed on June 21, 2018 upon approval by the ABMS Board of Directors. This change reflects the cumulative efforts of many prior Board Directors and Executive Directors. The new abbreviation for the organization will be “ABOHNS”. Along with the new name came a new organization logo, which was displayed. Board certificates with the name change and updated logo are now being created for newly certified otolaryngologists-head and neck surgeons and should be available by June 2019. Those that are already board certified can reorder their certificates with the changes through their login on the ABOHNS website, if desired. The cost is $60, which significantly decreased from the prior cost of $110 due to a renegotiated contract with the certificate supplier.  

Updates related to exams included the decision to change the process of the oral certifying exam to have two examiners per candidate at each station rather than one. The board feels that this will improve the exam, and aligns with the process used by peer surgical boards. The board considered changing the timing of the written qualifying exam but decided not to do so. This decision was influenced by the results from a survey study performed by the board in early 2018, which included feedback from chairs, residency program directors, fellowship program directors, recent residency graduates, and current senior residents.

Other board updates included the progress toward a subspecialty exam in Complex Pediatric Otolaryngology, a new website anticipated for 2020, timing of ORTA data collection changing to after the match for newly matched residents starting in 2019, and co-sponsorship of an ABMS Research Scholar starting in 2019. This program is most suited to early career faculty members, and those interested can find out more information through the ABMS website ( or by contacting Brian Nussenbaum.

Nominations for positions on the ABOHNS will be open from early January 2019 until July 1, 2019 through the ABOHNS website ( For the item writing task force (Task Force for New Materials), anyone can make a nomination, and self-nominations are also accepted. For oral examiner positions, one can be nominated by a Senior Examiner, Director, or Senior Counselor. Lists will be available through the ABOHNS website should one want to request a nomination from one of these individuals.

Brian Nussenbaum, MD, MHCM
Executive Director, American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Otolaryngology Program Coordinators Organization Update

The Otolaryngology Program Coordinators Organization (OPCO) strives to provide program coordinators (PCs) an opportunity to improve skills, competencies, and understanding of graduate medical education, and the accreditation of their programs.  More importantly, we seek to provide a network of peers to assist one another in the constantly changing landscape of medical training.  This past November OPCO had their 10th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. alongside the larger SUO/AADO/OPDO meeting.  While topics at the 9th annual meeting orbited around ways to improve a PC’s day-to-day skillset, this year’s focus was on exploring the dynamic relationship a program coordinator can have with their program and residents, and ways in which we can grow within and our roles.  

While the conference was scheduled for Saturday, it really started the day prior with Carrie Schaub, Wisconsin, and Caleigh Shaw, Illinois, leading a new coordinator session followed by a social function at a nearby restaurant for both new and experienced PCs.  The event was well attended, enjoyed by everyone, and set the tone for the rest of the conference as coordinators shared stories of interview seasons past and present, the diverse roles coordinators hold within their institution, and laughter provoking stories of resident shenanigans.  The conference day started with a timely presentation from Annette Lemire, Mayo Arizona, on wellness plans for coordinators.  We’re all beginning to recognize that burnout is not just an issue isolated to the medical provider community, but includes those that support them and this presentation expertly synthesized ways in which program coordinators can practice what is being preached at the national level. The remainder of the morning included updates from Pam Derstine on the Milestone 2.0 project, common program requirements, and the self-study process, as well as an update from the ERAS team.   Dr. Brian Nussenbaum and Shannon Lamkin updated the group on ABO-HNS happenings, and Emily Maurer gave attendees a look at the new SUO/AADO/OPDO website and its functionalities.  Attendees were especially keen to see this new website rolled out as it will provide a common platform for OPCO members to connect outside of the annual meeting.
In the afternoon we saw Matthew Hosanna, OHSU, present on that program’s efforts to be more intentional with interviewing diverse residency candidates and how others may take parts of this process to apply it to their own programs.  Attendees were encouraged to start somewhere, strive for perfection but expect imperfection, and set reasonable goals for their own program’s initiatives.  Diann Sanger, NYU, followed with discussions around how programs can adopt wellness initiatives into their curriculum.  We found that wellness activities are already part of many programs but haven’t yet been formalized into a wellness curriculum.  The day’s topics finished off with aptly paired presentations on creating and maintaining institutional coordinator mentorship programs by Cynthia Gruber, Loma Linda, and what professionalism looks like in this modern era by Christine Fleckenstein (OPCO Board Member), Cleveland Clinic.  Cynthia offered her story of what coming on board as a coordinator was like and how creating a PC mentorship program was a cornerstone of her growth during that time so that other new PCs felt more supported.  Christine broke down how professionalism isn’t just looking the part but also showing up as your authentic self and respecting others in their authenticity.  Both presentations complemented each other by reinforcing that supporting others in their success is one of the most professional acts you can commit.  Throughout the day attendees were treated to practical presentations and discussion facilitation from OPCO Board Members, Carrie Schaub (Chair), Candace Allen (Chair-elect), Louisville, Frances Campbell (Past Chair), Baylor, and Caleigh Shaw (Board Member), without which the OPCO Annual Meeting would not be a reality.  With the range of topics explored attendees walked away asking themselves, how do I relate to my residents, and colleagues? And what more do I want to do for them and this field? 

Matthew Hosanna
Program Coordinator, OHSU

SUO Committee and Annual Meeting Interest Form

If you are interested in serving on a SUO Committee or as part of the annual SUO/AADO/OPDO Combined Meeting, please complete the following form.