Summer 2023 Newsletter

Congratulations to our 2023 Graduates!

Dear Colleagues, Families, and Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this year's graduation festivities.


Dear graduating residents and fellows,

Our event focuses on you. Today is a significant milestone for all of you – you're joining the distinguished corps of otolaryngologists – head and neck surgeons, ready to serve the communities where you’ll settle, and to lead the healthcare systems where you’ll practice.

Today, I would like to tell you about a creature that symbolizes much of your professional journey here. I'm not talking about the imposing and majestic redwood tree that is in the university’s official seal and even became “The Tree,” the beloved mascot in college sports. I’m talking about the hummingbird, this burst of color and motion that surprises us often while moving about our campus.

Like yourself and many of us who have come here from all four corners of the world, many hummingbirds are migratory species. Sometimes, they cover 2,000 miles – an unimaginable distance for their size. Similarly, you have come from 5 continents to work and study here.

Hummingbirds are blessed with incredible physiology for a vertebrate – heartbeat of 20 times a second, breathing rate of 4 breaths per second, tongue movement 13 times a second when feeding, wing flap of 200 times a second during 60 miles-per-hour courtship dives. I don’t know much about your courtship experience, but I’m sure that you had to pull off some quick moves during your many long days and on-call nights during your years at Stanford. You have shown your physical, mental and spiritual agility over and over again.

Turning now to what’s next for you, let me tell you that hummingbirds can pull acceleration forces of 9G when maneuvering in the air, hovering, flying backward, and even upside-down. Mind you that fighter pilots  can manage 9G forces for a second or two while wearing special suits. As you start the next stage of your career, you will need many of these skills, with increasing expectations from your patients, colleagues, and loved ones.

Note how hummingbirds live in sublime harmony with their environment. They visit diverse flowers, and feed themselves, but at the same time pollinate plants at their stopovers. Likewise, I would like you to harmonize with your new communities, learn as much as possible about them, and pay special attention to those who need help.

There is an old Apache legend about a deaf warrior, Wind Dancer, who dies in a battle soon after marrying the love of his life, Bright Rain. She is struck with grief, and even the weather in the land turns cold and gloomy. The healing comes to her through a tiny hummingbird who sings Wind Dancer’s sweet, wordless songs. When Bright Rain finally finds peace, fair weather returns to the land. As physicians, you must similarly aim to become healers in your communities, attuned to the difficulties and sorrows around you.

Hummingbirds’ brains make up over 4% of their weight, the largest of any bird, and twice our relative size. They remember their migration paths, the flowers they have visited and, even recognize people. Likewise, you must stay abreast of our field, and continue learning and building your professional networks. Remember the dictum of Benjamin Franklin – When you are finished changing, you are finished.

Finally, hummingbirds have the largest heart in the animal kingdom – over 2.5% of their weight. I ask you to match this feat  – always speak truth to the power, remember to protect the weakest in your communities, be kind, patient, gentle, respectful and responsible.  Light others’ torches when theirs go dim and gratefully accept the light from others when you need it. I know your parents, families and friends have been your staunch torch lighters, and we’re gathered here to also celebrate their devotion.

Today, our gathering is a testament to your collective dedication and perseverance.Congratulations to each and every one of you on this momentous achievement. May the passion that brought you here continue to fuel your journey of lifelong learning and extraordinary care for your patients. Here's to a future filled with remarkable accomplishments, boundless possibilities, and the unwavering pursuit of compassion and excellence.



Konstantina Stankovic, MD, PhD, FACS
Beraterlli Foundation Professor and Chair

Highlights from Graduation 2023

Residency Class of 2023.

Where are our graduates headed next? (from left to right)

Samuel Cohen, MD, PhD - Physician at Marin Health ENT - Head & Neck Surgery, Santa Rosa, CA (Private Practice)

Z. Jason Qian, MD - Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship at Stanford University OHNS

Chloe Santa Maria, MBBS, MPH - Laryngology Fellowship at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 

Noel Ayoub, MD, MBA - Rhinology Fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, MA

Flavio Oliveira, MD, PhD - Physician at Washington Township Medical Foundation - Ear, Nose and Throat, Fremont, CA (Private Practice)

Graduating Fellows

Ahmed AlSayed, MD, MBBS – Assistant Professor at King Saud University OHNS Department

Michael Chang, MD – Assistant Professor at Stanford University OHNS 

Taseer Din, MBChB - at Sidra/Weill Cornell Medicine, Doha, Qatar

Grace Kim, MD – Assistant Professor at Stanford University OHNS

Kyle Kimura, MD - Physician/Surgeon at Ascentist Health Care

Daljit Mann, MD – Physician at Sutter Health ENT, Sacramento

Vikram Padhye, MD, PhD – Clinical Instructor at Stanford University OHNS

Alden Smith, MD – Clinical Instructor at Loma Linda University OHNS

Katherine Wai, MD – Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco OHNS

Michael Yong, MD, MPH, MBA – Associate Physician at Pacific Neuroscience Institute OHNS


Samuel Max Cohen, MD, PhD
Resident of the Year: For excellence during residency program.

Noel Ayoub, MD, MBA
Resident Team Player of the Year: Resident who exhibits consideration for the team; cares about the group. 

Jayakar Nayak MD, PhD
Teacher of the Year: For excellence in teaching. 

Misha Amoils, MD
Affiliated Faculty
Teacher of the Year: For excellence in teaching. 

Taseer Din, MBChB
Clinical Instructors
Teacher of the Year: For excellence in teaching. 

Peter Hwang, MD
Mentor of the Year: For excellence in mentorship.

John Sunwoo, MD
Mentor of the Year: For excellence in mentorship.

Z Jason Qian, MD
Research Symposium Grand Award: Best presentation by resident for their research.

Alice E. Huang, MD
Veterans’ Affairs Service Award: For excellence at the VA. 

Alanna Coughran, MD
Peter Koltai Award: For excellence in the Pediatric Division. 

Resident In-Training Awards: Received top scores on the in-training exam (group statins of 7 or above).

Noel Ayoub, MD, MBA

Samuel Max Cohen, MD, PhD

Mohamed Diop, MD, MS

Maxwell Lee, MD

George Liu, MD

Tina Munjal, MD

Eric Wei, MD

Dr. Robert Grossman, Dean and CEO of NYU Grossman School of Medicine, gave Grand Rounds at Stanford OHNS titled “Leadership and Leaders.”

Dr. Rodney Perkins, Stanford OHNS Honorary Alumnus for whom the Perkins Temporal Bone lab is named, gave the Willard E. Fee, Jr MD commencement lecture during our graduation festivities. He spoke about the archetype of the surgeon innovator and entrepreneur while reflecting on the history of Stanford OHNS.