Al Merati, MD


My feeling is that 'the secret to caring for the patient is caring about the patient...' Or my favorite from a professor in medical school: 'If you listen to the patient, they will tell you what the problem is.


My professional pathway has taken me from my native Pacific Northwest through California, Tennessee, Kansas/Missouri, and finally Wisconsin before returning home to Seattle in 2007 to take my dream job running the laryngology program at the University of Washington with the intent to create the finest laryngology program in the country.

I am first and last a clinician and have earned a reputation of clinical accessibility for our patients and colleagues in the region.

My three favorite people in the whole world are my wife Jenny, Solomon (born 2009), and Rose (born 2013). I owe my professional career success to the foundations laid down in medical school with Charlie Cummings and Ernie Weymuller, Jeff Harris at UCSD, my dear mentor Robert Ossoff from Vanderbilt, and my beloved guardian angel and advocate Bob Toohill from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. How lucky I have been!

Current CV


Undergraduate Education: University of Washington, 1987, B.A. in English, with distinction

Medical School: University of Washington School of Medicine, 1991, M.D., with honors

Internship: University of California - San Diego, 1991-92, General Surgery

Residency: University of California - San Diego, 1992-97, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

Fellowship: Laryngology & Care of the Professional Voice, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1997-98

Other Training: NIH Research Training, Neuromuscular Lab, Department of Orthopedics, UCSD, 1993-94

Board Certification: American Board of Otolaryngology, 1998

Memberships: American Laryngological Association, American Broncho-Esophagological Association, American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery


Awards and Honors

2023: AAOHNS Hall of Distinction “Living Legend”

2021-present: Councilor, American Laryngological Association

2019-2020: President, American Broncho-Esophagological Association

2019-2020: Vice-President, Western Section Vice-President, Triological Society

2018-2019: President, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS)

2016: Distinguished Service Award, American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery. Second career award; the first was awarded in 2008.

2014-2018: Secretary/Treasurer, Western Section Triological Society/Council of the Triological Society

2014-present: Editor/Council American Bronchoesophagological Association 

2012-present: Senior Examiner, American Board of Otolaryngology 

2012-present: Associate Editor - JAMA OTO-HNS 

2011-2013: Board of Directors, AAO-HNS

2012-13: Chair, Surgical Speciality Advisory Council AAO-HNS 

2008-2011: Founding Chair, Airway and Swallowing Committee, American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 

2008: Distinguished Service Award, American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery 

2007-present: Honorary Member, Panamanian Otolaryngology Society 

2006-2008: Chair, Neurolaryngology Subcommittee, American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 

2006: Outstanding Service Award, Wisconsin State Speech and Hearing Association

2005-present: Best Doctors in America ® (peer election) 

2005: Honor Award, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 

2001: "Top Doc" Award, Kansas University Medical Center 

2000: "Top Doc" Honorable Mention, Kansas University Medical Center 

1997: Department of Surgery Teaching Award, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine 

1997: Department of Medicine "Golden Flea" Award (most outstanding surgical consultant), University of California at San Diego 

1996: Housestaff Teaching Award, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine 

1995: Housestaff Teaching Award (Honorable Mention), University of California at San Diego School of Medicine 

1991: James Haviland Award, University of Washington School of Medicine 

1990: Alpha Omega Alpha 

Clinical Interests

All medical and surgical aspects of office-based and operative laryngology, including complex airway, voice, and swallowing. This includes vocal fold paralysis, surgery for dysphagia/aspiration (including Zenker's), and endoscopic and open surgery for airway stenosis and laryngeal cancer.

Recent Publications

Research Areas

Research Focus

Most of my research has related to the better understanding the dominant clinical issues facing our patients, including diagnostic testing and treatment of vocal fold paralysis, surgical management of airway stenosis, the impact of reflux on laryngeal disorders, as well as tracheotomy complications.