I am pleased to welcome you to the website for the University of Arizona Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. We are the newest department at the University of Arizona College of Medicine with a growing academic and clinical program. We offer advanced educational training for current and aspiring otolaryngologists, conduct ground-breaking research, and provide expert comprehensive otolaryngology care for patients throughout Arizona and the Southwest. I invite you to explore our website and meet our dedicated team of faculty, residents and staff.
This year, the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Fifty years ago, in 1967, the first medical school in the state welcomed its first class of 32 students. In 1977, the Section of Otorhinolaryngology was established in the Department of Surgery under the direction of Dr. Stanley Coulthard. Dr. Coulthard started an accredited otolaryngology residency program in 1978– the first and only otolaryngology residency in the state at that time. Illustrious faculty included well-known individuals in the field of otolaryngology such as Dr. Walter Work and Dr. Charles Krause. Fourteen otolaryngology residents trained in the U of A program between 1977 and 1988. The section of otorhinolaryngology would continue intermittently as a clinical service throughout the 1990s and early 2000s staffed by various community otolaryngologists, however, there would be no otolaryngology residency program at the U of A for 25 years.
An Otolaryngology program was re-established 7 years ago with the recruitment of Dr. Alex Chiu. Established as a Division within the Department of Surgery in 2010, the otolaryngology program grew rapidly. A new otolaryngology residency program at the University of Arizona received accreditation from the ACGME in 2013. In October 2014, the Arizona Board of Regents approved a new Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery within the College of Medicine, with Dr. Alex Chiu as the Founding Chair. Dr. Chiu’s vision and leadership helped build a program with a nationwide reputation for excellence by the time he departed Tucson in June 2016.
It was the amazing success story of this special group of faculty, residents, and staff that attracted me to come to the University of Arizona last year. As I reflect on my first year here, it is clear that the past 12 months for this department have been marked by major achievements and the start of new initiatives with tremendous potential for even greater future success.
2016-2017: YEAR IN REVIEW
Our residency program, when it started in 2013, had two residents. In July, 2016 we achieved a full complement of 5 residents for our 5-year training program. This June marked a milestone as we held our first residency graduation event, celebrating the achievements of Dr. Erynne Faucett. During the past year, residents from our department gave presentations at every major national meeting. We were represented for the first time at the Resident bowl during the Trio Sections meeting in New Orleans, in Jan, finishing in second place. In February, we held our 5th annual ENT in the Desert conference, with internationally renowned speakers and enthusiastic participation of otolaryngologists from across the US.
Current clinical and translational research programs in our department include study of cystic fibrosis-related sinus disease and mechanisms underlying chronic rhinosinusitis, the pathophysiology of mucin in respiratory epithelium, and mediators of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and metastasis in oral cancer. Through the combined hard work of our clinical and research faculty, residents, students and others, it has been a prolific year for original manuscript publications – 33 peer-reviewed manuscripts from our department in the last year.
We have been continuously funded by the NIH and other sources. Recent funding successes include Dr. Eugene Chang, who received an Acclarent Young Investigator award to study microbiome changes in chronic rhinosinusitis and is the co-investigator for an RO1 study of ‘Early origins of chronic airflow limitation.’ Dr. Chang was one of 3 individuals awarded a travel grant from the American Academy of Otolaryngology to attend the 2016 Cochrane Scholars Program in Seoul, Korea. This past year, Dr. Christopher Le received a Banner Medical Staff grant, to develop protocols to improve the inpatient care of tracheostomy patients.
Our clinical mission is to provide superior otolaryngology care for southern Arizona and beyond. Dr. Stephen Goldstein, director of facial plastic surgery, is also the medical director of our otolaryngology and allergy clinics. Stephen leads planning for our move to a state-of-the-art clinic in the new North Campus Ambulatory Building next year. Dr. Eugene Chang and Dr. Chris Le lead the rhinology and anterior skull base surgery program, a true model of clinical translational research collaboration. Dr. Mindy Black is our director of Laryngology. Mindy started a new Multidisciplinary Voice clinic this year, in collaboration with speech therapists from the UA Dept. of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Dr. Bruce Stewart provides comprehensive otolaryngology services for adults and children at the Banner-South campus hospital, whose service to its community was recognized last month by Banner Health, winning the Best of the Best Award for mid-sized hospitals for high performance in customer service, operations, and learning.
It has been a pleasure for me to work this past year with my outstanding partner, Dr. Audrey Erman, in Head and Neck Oncology. This year, the head and neck service added a new physician assistant, Chris Adams, as well as a new patient care navigator and clinical research coordinator. We provide cutting edge, personalized care and access to innovative clinical research trials in head and neck cancer, melanoma, endocrine surgery, and salivary gland disease.
The Southern Arizona VA serves the health care needs of Veterans throughout the region, while providing tremendous value to our department’s educational mission. Our fabulous VA faculty team, led by section chief Dr. Michael Bays, includes Dr. Helena Yip, Dr. Mindy Black, and Dr. Bruce Stewart.
I am pleased to announce new faculty joining us this summer. Dr. Helena Yip completed her residency training at UC Davis followed by a laryngology fellowship at Stanford University. Prior to coming to Arizona, Dr. Yip practiced at the Peninsula Medical Clinic in Burlingame, California. Dr. Yip sees patients at the Banner University Medical Center- Tucson campus and the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System. Dr. Jonathan Young completed his residency training at Virginia Commonwealth University followed by a pediatric otolaryngology fellowship at U of Colorado. Dr. Young will be our Dept.’s first Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology, starting in September. Dr. Shethal Bearelly grew up in San Jose, CA, completed his residency training at UCSF followed by a head and neck surgery fellowship at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Bearelly will be joining our head and neck division in September.
Today, our clinical and research programs are thriving. I invite you to come learn with us, and join us as we continue our journey to become one of the premier Otolaryngology programs in the country.
Steven J. Wang, MD
Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery