Annual Chair's Message for 2019
Stanford Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery is special. We are blessed with a warm and collegial culture among our community of 302 faculty, trainees, and staff. We strive for, and achieve, excellence in all of our core missions: clinical care, education, and research. As we enter 2019, we are listed as the #2 OHNS program in the country on US News with a score of 99.9. We are also in the top 10 in NIH grant awards. In clinical care, we have depth, breadth, and high levels of expertise in all of the specialty areas of contemporary OHNS. We enjoy the finest clinical facilities at Stanford and cutting edge technology in our clinics and operating rooms. Our remarkable group of clinician-scholars in training ensures a bright future for our field. Our peerless basic and translational science faculty are both immensely creative and highly productive.
In 2018, our 54 Faculty, 21 Residents, and 3 ACGME fellows contributed over 230 peer reviewed publications. In late 2018, departmental faculty have more than 75 competitive extramural grants.
The core strength of Stanford OHNS is its outstanding faculty. In 2003, the year we became a department, we had 5 faculty at Stanford. We begin 2019 with 54 faculty at Stanford (18 Professors, 11 Associate Professors, 16 Assistant Professors, 9 Instructors). Our full time Stanford academic faculty come from diverse training backgrounds with only two having done their OHNS residency at Stanford – making us perhaps the least inbred of any major national program. An additional 7 affiliated teaching faculty include 5 at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and 2 at the Palo Alto Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. We also have an expanding panel of 11 affiliated community otolaryngologists in our University Health Care Alliance offices in San Ramon (3), San Jose (1), Los Gatos (3), and Emeryville (3). A member of our Packard Children’s Health Alliance is located in Walnut Creek.
The year 2018 has been a banner year for promotions among our faculty. Six of our faculty have been promoted from assistant to associate professor including: Vasu Divi, Uche Megwalu, Zara Patel, Mai Thy Truong, David Sirjani, and Heather Starmer. Ed Damrose and John Sunwoo were promoted to full professor and John was named as a Sewall Professor.
Welcoming New Faculty in 2018-9
Fred Baik trained in otolaryngology at the University of Washington and did a head and neck fellowship at Mt. Sinai. He joins our Head & Neck Surgery division as assistant professor. Dr. Baik is both a microvascular reconstructive as well as ablative surgeon caring for patient with head & neck cancer at both Stanford and the Palo Alto Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. His research is focused on precision diagnostics to aid pre-operative and intra-operative decision making. He is interested in improving cancer detection using labeled and un-labeled imaging techniques combined with machine learning algorithms.
Kara Meister trained in otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh and did her pediatric OHNS fellowship at Stanford. She joins our Pediatric Otolaryngology division as assistant professor. Dr. Meister’s research interest involves understanding the use of technology to diagnose and treat pediatric patients, specifically the use of point-of-care ultrasonography. Her clinical interests include airway evaluation and reconstruction, voice and swallowing problems, and treatment of patients with head and neck masses including thyroid nodules and cancer. She is a lead of the Pediatric Thyroid Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and is a participating surgeon in the Aerodigestive Center at Stanford Children’s Health. Her practice is both at the Mary Johnson Center (Stanford) and the LPCH Clinic in San Jose.
Jennifer Alyono trained in otolaryngology at Stanford and also did her neurotology fellowship at Stanford. She joins our Otology-Neurotology division as assistant professor. Clinically, Dr. Alyono specializes in adult and pediatric surgery for disorders of the middle ear, inner ear, ear canal, facial nerve, and skull base. This includes care for hearing loss, tympanic membrane perforations, cholesteatoma, glomus tumors, and vestibular schwannomas, among others. Her research interests lie in hearing in population health, quality of care, and technology in medicine.
Daibhid O’Maoileidigh did his undergraduate degree at Trinity College, Dublin, with a degree in Physics and then went on to complete a masters in mathematics (supercomputing). His doctorate was earned at Rutgers in Physics and Astronomy. After 3 years as a guest scientist at the Max Planck Institute (Germany) he spent 7 years in post-doctoral research at the Rockefeller University under renowned auditory researcher James Hudspeth. He joins our Basic Science division as assistant professor. Dr. O’Maoileidigh is a theoretical physicist who has a special interest is mathematical modelling of auditory function.
Teresa Nicolson completed her PhD in biological chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the, Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Tübingen, Germany. She joins us after 15 years at the Oregon Hearing Research Center and Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon. Dr. Nicolson is an internationally renowned, highly distinguished auditory scientist. For 8 years she was a Howard Hughes investigator. Dr Nicolson uses zebrafish as an animal model of human deafness, which offers distinct advantages for imaging of cells and neural circuits, and performing physiological recordings using fully intact, undissected animals. Over the past two decades, she has been highly successful with a forward genetic approach, i.e. screening for mutant fish with balance and hearing defects. Her work provides a solid foundation for future therapeutic approaches for human deafness. Dr. Nicolson joins our Basic Science division as tenured full professor.
In 2019-2020 we are anticipating 3 additional faculty searches: Division chief for pediatric OHNS, a senior level basic science, and an additional head and neck endocrine surgeon. Gratitude to Nikolas Blevins, Tony Ricci, and Lisa Orloff for serving as Chairs of the Search Committees for these searches. In addition, I have let Dean Minor know that it would be an auspicious time for me to transition out of the departmental chair role in 2020. By then I will have completed my 17th year as the department’s inaugural chair (founded 2003). I have no plans to retire, merely to recalibrate my professional focus by reducing my administrative role to become more focused upon my research, education, and patient care.
Our Faculty Leaders in Stanford School of Medicine and Medical Centers
Stanford OHNS is highly represented among leadership of Stanford School of Medicine and our two Medical Centers. This affords abundant opportunity for mentorship in both academic and health care delivery mentoring. Many of our faculty have participated in one of the several leadership development programs offered at Stanford.
Dean, Stanford School of Medicine
Ann & John Doerr Medical Director of the Stanford Cancer Center
Chief of the Medical Staff, Stanford Health Care
Recent past Chief of the Medical Staff, Stanford Children’s Hospital
Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program
Peter Santa Maria
Associate Director of SPARK *
* SPARK is a unique partnership between university and industry experts. SPARK provides access to specialized knowledge and technical expertise regarding drug and diagnostic development.
Stanford OHNS Education Programs
Our immensely talented trainee population includes 22 OHNS residents, 3 ACGME accredited fellows (pediatrics, neurotology), and 8 instructors (head & neck surgery (2), sinus surgery (2), facial plastics surgery, laryngology, sleep surgery, and neurotology. We also have a number of graduate students, post-doctoral research fellows, instructors, and visiting scholars. Dozens of Stanford and visiting medical students are on rotation throughout the year.
We are in the second year of our NIH funded program (T32), intended to produce scientist-surgeons. To accommodate this new program, and our departmental growth, Stanford OHNS was approved by the Otolaryngology Residency Review Committee (RRC) to increase from 4 to 5 residents per year starting in 2017 for a total of 25 residents in our program by 2021.
The T32 program allows selected residents and fellows to undertake 2 years of funded research in addition to their 5 clinical years. Our T-32 research training program now has two tracks. One is a 7-year residency research track, which combines 5 years of clinical training in OHNS with 2 years of research training starting after the PGY2 year. This track includes current residents Grace Kim, Jason Qian, Tina Munjal, and Yu-Jin Lee. The second is a 2-year post-residency track, which will be used to provide a research experience for those individuals that desire an extended research experience after residency training. Both tracks are post-doctoral fellowships for otolaryngology residents, with the main difference being that the first track has the research block in the middle of residency training and the second track has the research block after residency has been completed. Both tracks provide guidance on how to balance research and clinical responsibilities in order to prepare the trainees to become independent physician-scientists.
Many of our residents and fellows take advantage of the rich educational environment of Stanford. The Stanford Society of Physician Scholars provides training and mentoring core academic skills through evening sessions throughout the year. The SPECTRUM 1 week intensive course in clinical research educates on study design and performance. A number of our trainees and faculty have participated in the renowned Stanford Biodesign program which teaches medical device innovation and entrepreneurship.
The exceptional quality of today’s trainees insures the future of our specialty will be in the best of hands. Our residents are having great success in obtaining fellowship positions and the graduates of our instructor/fellows programs obtain excellent faculty positions. Among our residency graduating class of 2018, all 4 graduates went on to sub-specialty fellowship.
2018 OHNS Residency Graduates
- Brandon Baird
Laryngology Fellowship, Mass. General Hosp
- Julia Noel
Endocrine Surgery Fellowship, Stanford
- Krista Schoppy
Pediatric OHNS Fellowship, Stanford
- David Schoppy
Head & Neck Surgery Fellowship, UCSF
Nuptials between 2 of our graduating chiefs, Dave and Krista Schoppy.
Fellowship - Instructor Programs
Stanford OHNS has post-residency fellowship programs in all of the clinical sub-specialties of the field: facial plastic surgery, head & neck surgery, laryngology, thyroid/parathyroid surgery, neurotology, pediatric OHNS, rhinology/sinus surgery, and sleep surgery. Selected from among the most talented residency graduates, these future academicians enrich both our education and research programs. Two of our current neurotology fellows, Taha Jan and Ksenia Aaron, are in the T32 clinician-scientist training program.
Nik Blevins and a team of computer scientists and engineers have created a haptic reinforced sinus and temporal bone surgical simulator. Our Perkins Microsurgery Teaching Laboratory has newly installed LED based microscopes with high definition video displays. Kwang Sung utilized the microsurgery lab for performing a phonomicrosugical simulation study with the residents. Twice a year Dr. Jennifer Lee, who is trained in surgical simulation, leads all OHNS residents through varied simulations such as “carotid blowout” and “angioedema.”
The Otoinnovation Lab is an accelerator of medical technology from discovery to patients. We collaborate with Stanford faculty, industry, and Stanford groups, including Biodesign and SPARK, to meet unmet medical needs in Otolaryngology. We provide coaching, mentorship, and technical resources to bring discoveries through the preclinical phase.We emphasize multidisciplinary, team-based approaches to problems and testing proof-of-concept as rapidly as possible. We work together in our Otoinnovation Prototyping Lab as well as the Rodney Perkins Microsurgical Lab to test and realize ideas. Two examples of active otoinnovation projects are novel means of drug delivery to reduce the burden of oral mucositis post radiation (PI Dr. Peter Santa Maria) and a wearable biometric device for diagnosis and rehabilitation of vestibular disorders. (PI Dr. Steenerson)
Stanford OHNS Research Overview
Stanford is a research intensive school of medicine and we are a research intensive department. Our commitment to basic and translational research is well illustrated by the growth of our annual research budget from under $5,000 (2003) to nearly an estimated $13 million (2019). We have some 12,000 sq. ft. of research space with our major laboratory in the Edwards building and additional facilities in Lokey Stem Cell, Grant, and CCSR buildings. All will coalesce into the new Biomedical Innovations Building starting construction this year with anticipated occupancy in early 2020.
In late 2018, departmental faculty have more than 75 competitive extramural grants and are principal investigator on 10 NIH R-01s, 5 R-21s, 1 U-01, 1 U-54, 1 DoD, 1 CIRM award and 24 industry grants. Our basic science research community consists of 114 faculty, post-docs, researchers, students and other trainees.
At our 9th annual research retreat in October, the entire department participated and each of our faculty presented their research plans for the coming year. Both extramural funding and philanthropy remain strong. Trainees present their research progress as part of our annual graduations ceremonies each June.
A central theme of Stanford OHNS basic and translational research is to seek a better understanding of diseases in our field and inventing new therapies. Our research group, which is a mixture of basic scientists and surgeon – scientists, has numerous collaborations throughout Stanford bioscience and technology. A major thrust of our research is to overcome hearing loss through regenerative means. To achieve this goal we have created the Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss, which is a long term, goal oriented, multidisciplinary research effort. (Heller, Ricci, Cheng, Chang, Grillet, Nicolson, Santa Maria, Blevins, Fitzgerald, Valdez, Jackler, and Minor)
Please see our annual Research Report for greater detail
A number of generous donors support our research programs with over 200 gifts in 2018. While our Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss is the major recipient, substantial gifts have also been received by our rhinology, head & neck, and facial plastic surgery divisions over the last year. As of late 2018, our departmental endowments total $36.7 million ($25.8 in endowed professorships and $10.9 in various funds primarily for support of research. Gratitude goes to Clifford Harris, our peerless medical development professional who most ably supports our fund raising activities.
Our clinical services continue their traditional double-digit growth annually – a trend which has been sustained annually for over a decade. Our focus is on high quality tertiary care of complex diseases in the head and neck region. We have 8 clinical divisions: facial plastics, head & neck surgery, laryngology, otology/neurotology, pediatric, rhinology, sleep surgery, and comprehensive ENT. Space does not permit a full accounting of our areas of expertise, but I will highlight a few noteworthy examples.
Our clinical programs are housed in a number of locations. Laryngology, rhinology, facial plastic surgery, and comprehensive ENT are all housed in our departmental home building at 801 Welch Road on the Stanford campus. Our head and neck surgery program occupies most of the 3rd floor of the Blake-Wilbur building adjacent to our home building. Across the street are our pediatric clinics at the Mary Johnson Center with additional pediatric clinic space in Los Gatos. Both adult and pediatric otology/neurotology are situated at the Stanford Ear Institute at Watson Court while sleep surgery is headquartered on our Redwood City campus.
In our Head & Neck Surgery Division Chief Chris Holsinger leads our innovative transoral robotic program in which he is joined by Drs. Damrose, Capasso, and Sirjani. Lisa Orloff heads our very active thyroid-parathyroid program and is internationally renowned for her expertise in ultrasound. She is joined in head and neck endocrine surgery by Drs. Sunwoo and Holsinger. Dr. Davud Sirjani focuses on salivary gland surgery while Dr. John Sunwoo has special expertise in melanoma. Vasu Divi, Eben Rosenthal, and Fred Baik expertly perform microvascular free flap reconstructions. Michael Kaplan is our highly versatile, extremely busy, senior head and neck cancer surgeon. Speech therapist Ann Kearny provides care for post-laryngectomy voice restoration patients and Heather Starmer supports patients with swallowing disorders.
In our Rhinology Division, Chief Peter Hwang is constantly surrounded by international observers and our residents have begun calling it the “Hwangterage.” Peter has a busy practice of complex endoscopic sinus surgery, often taking on the most challenging cases. Both he, Drs. Jayakar Nayak and Zara Patel collaborate with neurosurgical colleagues on minimally invasive endoscopic skull base surgery including a substantial census of pituitary tumors. Dr. Nayak helped to develop a transnasal approach to the odontoid and is a leading expert in empty nose syndrome. The Stanford Sinus Center provides integrated care including cone beam CT imaging.
In our Laryngology Division, Chief Ed Damrose has special interests in rehabilitation of laryngeal paralysis and cancer of the larynx. His colleague Dr. Kwang Sung does a wide array of in office laryngeal procedures, including those requiring use of the laser. Kwang also has a strong interest in care of the professional voice, especially in entertainers. Dr. Karuna Dewan is a laryngologist with a special interest in swallowing disorders. Speech therapist Elizabeth DiRenzo provides care for a wide range of voice disorders.
In our Sleep Surgery Division, Chief Robson Capasso tackles a wide variety of procedures to alleviate obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Dr. Capasso is especially sophisticated in management of sleep disorders as he is dual trained in sleep medicine and sleep surgery. His colleague Dr. Stanley Liu, an MD/DDS oral surgeon specializes in reconstruction of the facial skeleton, such a maxillomandibular advancement, to open severe constrained upper airways. Dr. Robert Riley, one of the founders of the field of sleep surgery, collaborates with Dr. Liu on the facial skeletal surgery. Together, our sleep surgery team performs a large volume of hypoglossal nerve stimulator implants each year.
In our Pediatric Division, acting Chief Alan Cheng is a clinician-scientist with an expertise in children’s ear disease. Peter Koltai focuses his interest on complex sleep disorders in children while Douglas Sidell tackles aerodigestive tract disorders. Mai Thy Truong is a highly skilled pediatric ENT able to handle a wide spectrum of children’s otolaryngology problems with a special interest in vascular malformations. Drs. Truong and Kay Chang oversee a dedicated microtia clinic and together they are surgically creating superb ear reconstructions. Drs. Chang, Cheng, and Iram Ahmad focus on pediatric otology. Tulio Valdez has a special interest in swallowing disorders while Kara Meister has a focus on thyroid tumors in children.
In our Facial Plastics Division, Chief Sam Most has built a highly successful aesthetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery practice. Sam, who is known for his refined aesthetic sense and technical excellence, has special interests in rhinoplasty and rejuvenation of the aging face. JP Pepper leads our facial nerve center and uses advanced reanimation techniques. Oral surgeon Stanley Liu has a special interest in facial trauma and computer assisted, minimally invasive repair of facial fractures.
In our Otology-Neurotology Division located in the Stanford Ear institute, Chief Nikolas Blevins is a renaissance surgeon handling all aspects of ear care and microsurgery. Drs. Peter Santa Maria, Jennifer Alyono, and I are broadly trained otologists-neurotologists with interests spanning chronic ear surgery, stapedotomy, acoustic neuroma, and cranial base tumor surgery.
Our two very capable medical otologists Drs. John Shinn and George Shorago see many adult patients. Matt Fitzgerald, Chief of Audiology, oversees a large group of audiologists who provide diagnostic and rehabilitative services. The Children’s Hearing Center includes Drs. Kay Chang, Alan Cheng, and Iram Ahmad. Our very active cochlear implant center performs over 130 implants per year in adults and children.
In our Comprehensive Otolaryngology Division faculty members Jennifer Lee and Uche Megwalu expertly manage a wide spectrum of otolaryngology medical and surgical diseases. Jennifer has a special interest disorders of the Eustachian tube and has now performed many endoscopies and balloon therapies of this structure.
The New Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children's Hospitals
Stanford Medicine is very much looking forward to occupying two splendid, state-of-the-art new hospitals which are in advanced stages of construction. The new spectacular new Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital opened in December 2017 with the state-of-the-art new surgical suites followed spring 2018. The new Stanford Hospital is anticipated to open in late 2019.
Global Health Programs
We have an ongoing collaboration between with the University of Zimbabwe. Peter Koltai and Lisa Orloff are the most recent faculty members to visit (we have sent a total of 5 faculty members.) Our goal is to send 1-2 faculty members a year. With local faculty and supported by an American donor, Dr. Koltai has been creating the country's first pediatric OHNS center.
The Chief of OHNS at the University of Zimbabwe (Clemence Chidziva) visited Stanford in 2015. Two junior Zimbabwe faculty visited Stanford OHNS in each of the last 3 summers (2016-18). These learning experiences have been funded by the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, the OHNS department, and the physicians were hosted by Koltai family.
Sam Most organizes an annual humanitarian mission to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in conjunction with Face-to-Face, an organization within the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Patients treated include adults and children with congenital, post-traumatic and post-ablative defects. On his most recent trip Dr. Most was assisted by one of the Stanford OHNS residents and Elise, his daughter who is a Stanford student.
Our Sunday night alumni event was held at the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery in Atlanta. Gratitude to faculty member Mai Thy Truong and her husband Ken who hosted.
Individuals or families interested in supporting our research programs are welcome to join us to meet our faculty and tour our laboratories.
Alumni are always welcome to return to “The Farm” for a visit!
Please email me at email@example.com and we can set up a time for a chat and a tour.
— Robert K. Jackler, MD
Sewall Professor & Chair
(December 14, 2018)