Message from the Chair

August 2020

As we enter the new academic year, we are facing unprecedented change in our personal and professional lives. There is continued uncertainty as to when the Covid 19 pandemic will end and when a reliable “new normal” will be established. During all of this, we are also actively engaged in what I hope is a truly sustained and meaningful effort to stop racism and social injustice.

On the Covid 19 front, UW Medicine and the department have been working tirelessly to implement plans and protocols to maximize the care of our patients and maintain the health and safety of all involved in their care. We are fortunate to be in a position to continue our treatment of patients with any and all otolaryngology issues. Department research and educational efforts continue to evolve with innovative methods to advance projects and prepare the next generation of otloaryngologists with the knowledge and skills needed for success. 

It is a particularly challenging time for students interested in pursuing a career in otolaryngology, given limitations on travel and restrictions on participation in our clerkship program. In response to these challenges, we have embarked on a series of supplementary resident education zoom talks and “town halls.” Under the leadership of Dr. Ian Humphreys, the series is designed to allow individuals from across the country to learn about UW Otolaryngology. Each session focuses on a different aspect of the department and features participation from both faculty and residents. 

All residency interviews will be virtual this year. Our program director, Dr. Tanya Meyer, and the Program Education Committee are committed to creating an interactive and meaningful process to convey all that UW Otolaryngology has to offer. To further showcase our residency, Dr. Mark Whipple and his son Jackson Whipple (an amazing videographer!) have created a video highlighting the attributes and personality of the department. It is available for viewing on our website
Equally important is our commitment to addressing bias and discrimination in all its forms. UW Medicine is developing a formal curriculum for all faculty, trainees, and staff. In addition, the department has undertaken a focused project to improve team performance and address bias across all departmental programs. The project is designed to reinforce our strengths and help us recognize the impact of our behaviors on departmental culture and patient safety. We are currently in the process of data collection, to be followed by education on the behavioral topics that emerge, and finally, creation of a group agreement. 

I am humbled to work with, and to lead, all members of UW Otolaryngology-HNS. The work we do changes lives. Your dedication, resourcefulness, resiliency, and incredible thoughtfulness for our patients, families, and each other is inspirational and central to our department DNA. The greatest asset of our organization is our people.

With this in mind, and despite uncertainty, our future is bright!  

Warmly, Neal