I can’t believe it’s been a year since I had the honor and the privilege of serving as your President. The spring season is officially here and while many of us are excited for a little warmer weather, I hope you also join in my excitement for our upcoming annual meeting during COSM, May 1-2, 2019, with a pre combined meeting with the AACR on April 29-30. Both meetings are taking place in the great city of Austin, TX and you can find more information by visiting www.ahns.info/meetings.
While our annual meeting is a terrific showcase of what the AHNS does, and a lot of tremendous work has gone into the planning of our meeting, our society is just as actively engaged in the months between meetings. The annual meeting is also a time of handing off the baton to our new President, Dr. Cherie Ann Nathan who will no doubt provide outstanding leadership to our beloved society. As this is my last message to you as President, I want to acknowledge and summarize all the great work that took place this past year. It is a reflection of the incredible engagement and dedication of our collective leadership and membership.
As the new AHNS structure became fully operational, it created an incredible momentum of progress and activity by our leaders and members alike. Since it would be impossible to list all the activities that took place in the past year, here are just some of the highlights from our Divisions with their respective Services, and Sections:
- Our Administration Division is in the final stages of the AHNS P&P (Policies and Procedures) Manual, which will help guide services and sections on how to effectively manage AHNS projects. We are grateful for the incredible efforts of Bill Lydiatt, Administrative Division Chair, and Dr. Terry Day, co-chair, who worked tirelessly to get this important task completed. The Constitution and By-laws Service also worked very hard to incorporate the new structure into our bylaws.
- The AHNS Women in HNS Service selected its first AHNS Margaret F. Butler Outstanding Mentor in HNS Award. This service also coordinated the first Mentorship Program of the AHNS.
- The Diversity Service awarded the second annual Myers Summer Travel Fellowship, allowing a medical student to observe and learn with some of the top surgeons and researchers in our field.
- Our membership numbers are strong and growing and our Membership & Credentials Service is constantly looking at new ways to retain and recruit new members. An exciting new initiative of establishing an online recommendation form for new applicants will facilitate getting recommendation for membership of AHNS.
- The International Advisory Service is addressing ways to include more of our international colleagues in our society and especially integrating them into our international conference next year.
- And here is our new AHNS Blog, Heads Up!, thanks to the Website and Social Media Service. They also enhanced the “Find a doctor” functionality of our website where the public can use geo-location to search for AHNS doctors in their area. In addition there are ongoing efforts to enhance and coordinate our Sections’ social media presence including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
- I am proud of the Global Outreach Service for offering global scholarships for international applicants to attend our annual meeting!
- We are grateful for our Publications and Awards Service for taking the time to review manuscripts and select AHNS Award Winners. This year the new Randal Weber Award will be given to the Best Paper in Quality, Value, and Safety. We thank Dr. Weber for his generous support for this award. Please attend our Awards Ceremony during COSM to hear who the winners are.
- Our History Service will once again feature some interesting quizzes during our annual meeting. They are also working on finalizing interviews with head and neck surgery pioneers.
- The Development Service continues to work in concert with the AHNS Foundation, which exceeded its $3 million corpus goal and is now fully funding all of our educational research grants.
- The Training, Accreditation, and Certification Service is overseeing some very important work surrounding our future strategy for certification and training in Head and Neck Oncologic and Reconstructive Surgery. You will hear more about these initiatives in the Business Meeting. A standardized online National Curriculum for AHNS Fellowships have been finalized and approved. Thanks to Babak Givi for leading this tremendous effort that will enhance the training for our fellows.
- Our CME Service is hard at work on the re-accreditation application for the ACCME. The AHNS is an accrediting CME body and we go through the rigorous accreditation process every few years.
- 58 applicants applied to our highly regarded fellowship programs through the Advanced Training Council. That is a 13% increase from last year.
- The Education Division has continued to publish the Do you know your guidelines? series of AHNS under the scholarly leadership of David Goldenberg.
- Within our new matrix structure, the Scientific Program and Resident Courses Service has worked in concert with our six sections (endocrine, mucosal, cutaneous, salivary, skull base, and reconstruction) to provide a balanced comprehensive scientific coverage in our Annual Meeting of all relevant areas of our entire scope of practice. They also worked on two Resident courses (ACS Ultrasound, Thyroid and Parathyroid, AAOHNS course). A new didactic Robotic course for our fellows is being offered for the first time this year. It will be a preparatory course that will facilitate any further hands-on robotic training, which is being developed for the benefit of our trainees.
Patient Care Division
- The Survivorship, Supportive Care and Rehabilitation Service has published numerous topical reviews, manuscripts, and webinars. Many of these are publicly available on our website as a resource for providers, patients and caregivers. They are also organizing our first survivorship symposium at our international conference next year.
- The Value and Quality of Care Service is working on a Quality Metric Endorsement Process.
- Our Cancer Prevention Service just directed the inaugural US versus HPV Awareness Week, which was widely successful. In addition during the Oral Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week, our Prevention Service offered 5 Community Service awards ($1000 each, one of which is in collaboration with the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance).
- This year we again offered the combined AACR/AHNS Research Meeting, which will cover pertinent topics and cutting edge information in basic and translational science. We are grateful for Jim Rocco and the Research Division for their leadership of this effort.
- The Basic and Translational Service has plans to publish a periodic newsletter summarizing high impact basic and translational research in oncology.
- The Grants Service continues to receive increasing numbers of meritorious research applications to be reviewed through the CORE mechanism.
- The Endocrine Section held a very successful retreat this year and is offering two new endocrine-focused research grants, one from Stryker and another from Eisai.
- Published several Endocrine focused white papers, position statements, and guidelines, and offered a substantial online library (9 white papers) to AHNS membership.
- Participated in Joint AHNS Endocrine meetings with several societies such as African HNS in Cape Town, South Africa, the Asian Pacific Thyroid Society in Taiwan and the Brazilian HNS in Gramado, Brazil.
- Organized Collaborative Program between AACE, ACE and the AHNS
- The AHNS Endocrine Section with collaboration from the AHNS Global Outreach Service and the Women in HNS service established the first AHNS Young Woman International Scholarship this year, a $4000-5000 scholarship, to attend the annual meeting and to visit a US program of their choice. Dr. Caroline Muturi from Kenya was selected this year.
- The AHNS/AfHNS (African Society of Head and Neck Surgery) scholarship, a $2000 yearly scholarship for a member of the AfHNS to attend the AHNS meeting. This year Dr. Anna Konney from Ghana will be attending the AHNS meeting.
- Published numerous Practice guidelines and Position statements (oral cavity, oropharynx, larynx, unknown primary)
- Our mucosal section will be representing AHNS in the Oral Cancer Summit.
- Members of the mucosal section are preparing Operative Videos (including TORS, Transoral microsurgery of laryngeal cancer, neck dissection, etc.) for a special session at our international conference next year.
Reconstructive head & Neck Surgery Section
- Launched several studies including multi-institutional studies including examining the long-term swallowing outcomes of patients undergoing salvage laryngectomy and attempting to define differences in outcomes based on method of reconstruction at time of surgery. They have also launched a cohort study looking at flap choice and outcomes when specifically studying patients over the age of 80. In addition, they are considering further studies in the area of esophageal injury following spine surgery as well as the use of virtual surgical planning in head and neck reconstruction.
- The Section is planning on expanding their content on the AHNS website including new instructional videos on flap harvest. Furthermore, the service is currently working in its first two webinars that will ultimately enhance existing content on the website.
- Leaders and members of the Salivary Section are participating in the 5th International Salivary Gland Congress this October, in Philadelphia.
- They are also participating the in North American Salivary Study Group and will collaborate with its European counterpart on several Educational and Research endeavors.
- The Skin Cancer and Melanoma Section was heavily involved with Skin Cancer Awareness Month
- Members of the section are putting together a toolbox for patients with melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer
The Skull Base Section
- The Skull Base Section has organized focused on 5 important areas related to our field: Education and training, Clinical practice, Research, Coordination of efforts with Sibling Societies, and Patient advocacy and survivorship
- Other issues being considered: developing a hands-on surgical course for skull base surgical techniques for residents and fellows
This has been an incredible year and I am so grateful for the opportunity and the honor to have served as your President. I am proud of the work our society accomplishes on a daily basis. I am greatly indebted to Dr. Brian Burkey who will finish his dedicated service and second three-year term as Secretary. The AHNS is only as strong as its members and I am grateful for your commitment to our mission. I look forward to seeing you in Austin soon!
All the best,
Ehab Hanna, MD