|Baylor College of Medicine
1977 Butler Blvd.
Houston, TX 77030
|Number of Fellowships: 1
Duration (in years) / Type: 1 year / Clinical
The Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine is a comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute. Our department faculty facilitate head and neck oncologic care at some of the largest academic institutions in the Texas Medical Center including Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Ben Taub Hospital, and Texas Children’s Hospital. Over 700 new head and neck cancer patients are evaluated by our faculty annually. The full breadth of head and neck oncology is represented, including major open ablative and reconstructive procedures, minimally invasive techniques, and local and national clinical trials. This experience is expected to provide a fellow with a broad and intense training, setting the foundation for a strong clinical acumen for future clinical practice. Additionally, as our faculty are involved in numerous head and neck oncology leadership roles nationally through the American Head and Neck Society, NRG Oncology, Veterans Affairs, and American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, we value the opportunity to support fellow graduates in their academic pursuits.
1. Provide primary surgeon responsibility that establishes confidence and efficiency in performing complex head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, including open/endoscopic skull base, TORS, TLM, and microvascular free tissue transfer.
2. Expose the fellow to a robust multidisciplinary clinical team that facilitates cross-specialty discussion and relationship management, establishing a culture of leadership.
3. Support academic and research endeavors including national meeting participation, committee work, grant writing, and peer-reviewed journal publication.
1. High clinical volume – >150-200 free flaps performed annually.
2. Diverse faculty training backgrounds (5 different institutions represented) that help expose fellows to a wide variety of techniques.
3. Access to state-of-the-art operating room technology (Da Vinci SP, Olympus Orbeye, Leica ARveo 8, Zimmer Biomet WalterLorenz Surgical Assist Arm).
4. Productive research component for fellow participation (>55 peer-reviewed publications over the past 3 years).
5. Vibrant and affordable major metropolitan area for living.
To be considered for the position, the candidate must have completed an ACGME-accredited residency in Otolaryngology and must be qualified to sit for the American Board of Otolaryngology written and oral exams. The candidate must be able to secure a Texas Medical License.
The Head and Neck Surgery Fellow will be appointed as an Instructor in the Bobby R. Alford Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. The Fellow is expected to be a Primary or Teaching surgeon in major head and neck surgery ablative and microvascular free tissue transfer cases. The Fellow will manage operated patients post-operatively with the head and neck resident teams. The Fellow will be in the faculty call pool and will have an opportunity to run an independent outpatient clinical and surgical experience, if desired. The Fellow is expected to produce at least one abstract for a national meeting and/or a manuscript during the year that will be mentored. Required educational activities that will exempt the fellow from clinical duties include: weekly Multidisciplinary Treatment Planning Conference, weekly fellow head and neck oncology didactic series, journal club quarterly, and an annual microvascular free tissue transfer cadaveric dissection course.
Our group is involved in a continual analysis of oncologic and functional outcomes for patients with head and neck cancer using prospective and retrospective studies. We are currently involved in therapeutic and biomarker development clinical trials across our affiliated hospitals. In addition, we are utilizing institutional and national data to generate treatment algorithms for patients with head and neck cancer designed to improve treatment related metrics including time to treatment, time interval between surgery and radiation and completion of curative intent treatment in a patient population enriched for under-represented minorities with reduced social-economic status and access to cancer care. This work, led by Dr. Sandulache at the MEDVAMC and Dr. Hernandez at Ben Taub General Hospital is being used to usher in a metric driven, cost conscious approach to quality head and neck cancer care.
Leveraging the exceptional catchment area of Baylor College of Medicine, the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center and its affiliated adult hospitals, Dr. Erich Sturgis leads multidisciplinary translational research and outreach efforts in HPV-related cancers including a multi-institutional cancer screening trial “TRINITY”, an effort to develop an HPV-related cancer screening paradigm in middle-aged men. It is based upon novel blood and oral rinse-based biomarkers among 1,500 men to identify an extreme risk cohort for in-person screening. In addition, Dr. Sturgis collaborates on numerous epidemiology and HPV-projects and clinical projects with others outside of the institution.
Active Funded Projects:
• Scope: Evaluation of metformin as a chemo-radiosensitizer (Clinical Trial)
Funding: BCM/DLDCCC (PI: Sandulache)
• Scope: Biomarker development of immune checkpoint inhibitor response
Funding: industry (site PI: Sandulache)
• Scope: NRG oncology HN006 Randomized Phase II/III Trial Of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Versus Elective Neck
Dissection For Early-Stage Oral Cavity Cancer (Clinical Trial)
Funding: National Institutes of Health (site PI: Sandulache)
• Scope: Development of risk stratification strategies for oropharyngeal cancer
Funding: Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development (PI: Sandulache)
• Scope: Development of coping strategies for head and neck cancer patients and caregivers.
Funding: National Institutes of Health (co-I: Sandulache)
• Scope: Correlation of diet quality with dysphagia metrics in oropharyngeal cancer patients
Funding: Department of Defense (co-I: Sandulache)
• Scope: Evaluation of immune checkpoint inhibitor effectiveness in a minority population
Funding: American Head and Neck Society (PI: Hernandez)
• Scope: Multi-institutional HPV-cancer screening trial “TRINITY”
Funding: Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (PI: Sturgis)
Supervision, Teaching & Call:
At any given time during the fellow’s training, there will be supervised mentorship with autonomy commensurate to fellow experience and performance. With the amount of clinical activity available, it is expected that the fellow will be comfortable with most, if not all, major head and neck surgical techniques as primary surgeon. Teaching of residents on the head and neck surgery team is expected in the operating room, outpatient clinic, and didactic conferences. The fellow will be provided educational leadership roles in formal didactic environments including Grand Rounds, Journal Clubs, and our annual Texas Medical Center Head and Neck Microvascular Free Tissue Transfer course.
2017-2019. Dhafer Alsuwied, DDS, Program Director, Oral Maxillofacial Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
2019-2021. Mohammad Kharazmi, DDS PhD, Consultant Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon, Private Practice, Vasteras, Sweden.
2021-2023. Salah Al-Azri, DDS. Current Fellow.
2022-2024. Brian Rethman, DDS. Current Fellow.