Washington University School of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Avenue
Campus Box 8115-029-08
St. Louis, MO 63110
|Number of Fellowships: 2
Duration (in years) / Type: 1 year/ Clinical
Faculty: See below for full faculty and bio list
Overview: The Fellowship in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction within the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University is a longstanding feature of the educational curriculum offered within this academic medical center. Since 1984, 36 fellows have continuously occupied this position. Prior to this, the Department offered a Head and Neck Surgery fellowship, which concentrated mainly upon resectional techniques, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Ogura. Our intention is to carry on this strong legacy of surgical innovation within the multidisciplinary context of modern head and neck cancer care. The large majority of fellows have graduated from this program to faculty positions in other academic institutions, where they practice and teach the techniques they have learned. The fellowship takes place primarily at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Rotations at the John Cochran V.A. Hospital are also possible, and provide the fellow with graduated autonomy in both head and neck cancer ablation and complex reconstruction.
Faculty: Ryan S. Jackson, MD – Dr. Jackson is an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology in the Division of Head and Neck Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. He has an undergraduate degree in nuclear medicine and completed his specialty training in Otolaryngology at the University of South Florida. He was recruited to the Otolaryngology faculty at Washington University after completing an Advanced Head and Neck Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He has clinical expertise in head and neck oncology and robotic surgery and has been involved in clinical research projects on patients who have had transoral robotic surgery for oropharyngeal carcinoma. His clinical interests include transoral robotic surgery, minimally invasive surgery for oropharyngeal cancer, HPV positive oropharyngeal cancer, microvascular free tissue transfer reconstruction of major ablative head and neck defects, thyroid neoplasms, benign and malignant salivary gland neoplasms, benign and malignant head and neck tumors, osteoradionecrosis of the mandible.
R. Alex Harbison, MD – Dr. Harbison received his MD form the University of Colorado-Anschultz Medical Campus and completed residency in otolaryngology at the University of Washington, Seattle. His fellowship training in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at Johns Hopkins University. He specializes in thyroid and parathyroid disease and minimally invasive radiofrequency ablation.
Patrik Pipkorn, MD – Dr. Pipkorn went to medical school and residency in Sweden. As part of his otolaryngology program, he spent a full year with Dr. Johannes Fagan focusing on head and neck cancer at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. After completion of two years of head and neck fellowships, the first one at University of California-Davis, Sacramento and the second one at Washington University in St Louis, he transitioned to faculty at our department. During his first year he pursued further training in a masters degree focusing on clinical investigation under the leadership of Dr. Jay Piccirillo. Dr. Pipkorn’s research interests are within clinical outcomes. During the fellowship you will be working closely with Dr. Pipkorn who performs all aspects of head and neck oncologic surgery, including endoscopic and open skull base surgery, transoral laser surgery, as well as microvascular reconstruction. Having had an extensive exposure to multiple training programs and different countries and cultures, he brings a unique perspective to our program.
Jason T. Rich, MD, FACS – Dr. Rich is a head and neck surgeon who performs both oncologic ablation as well as reconstructive surgeries for cancers of the head and neck. He received his medical degree at The Ohio State University and completed his residency training Otolaryngology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He then completed a head and neck surgery fellowship at the University of Toronto. Since then he has been faculty at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Rich performs all aspects of head and neck oncologic surgeries including transoral laser microsurgery. He performs a wide variety of reconstructive techniques that span from local flaps to microvascular free tissue transfer with a focus on tailoring reconstruction to each patient’s specific needs and circumstances. He also has an interest in airway reconstruction. His research interests include geriatric head and neck risk stratification and improving long term surveillance and care for head and neck survivors.
Sidharth V. Puram, MD, PhD – Dr. Puram is the Chief of Head and Neck Surgery. He graduated from MIT with dual degrees in Biology and Neuroscience and completed his MD, PhD at Harvard Medical School. He completed his Otolaryngology residency at Harvard Combined Program at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary followed by a head and neck oncology and microvascular reconstruction fellowship in the Department of Otolaryngology at Ohio State University (James Cancer Center). Dr. Puram is a physician scientist and has vast research experience in head and neck cancer biology, genomics and imaging. Dr. Puram brings extensive expertise and training in head and neck surgical oncology and microvascular surgery to Washington University.
Paul Zolkind, MD – Dr. Zolkind is an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. He received his M.D. from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine in New York. He developed an early interest in basic and translational oncology research and completed his 7-year Otolaryngology residency program here at Washington University with 2 years in dedicated research on our NIH T32 training grant. Following residency, he completed a head and neck surgery fellowship at Stanford University and we were fortunate to recruit him back to join the Otolaryngology faculty here at Washington University. Dr. Zolkind’s clinical work is at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and he will continue his research endeavors on head and neck cancer at Washington University School of Medicine.
Hiram A. Gay, MD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
Wade L. Thorstad, MD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
Anthony J. Apicelli, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology
Michael Morovan, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology
Douglas R. Adkins, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology
Peter Oppelt, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology
Mena Mansour, MD, Assistant Professor, Pathology & Immunology Section Head, Intraoperative Consultation
Rebecca Chernock, MD, Associate Professor of Pathology & Immunology
- Diagnosis and office management/work up of patients with neoplastic (benign and malignant) diseases of the head and neck.
- Surgery for head and neck cancer and other benign tumors of the head and neck, transoral surgery, skull base surgery and reconstruction for defects of the head and neck with a special emphasis on microvascular free tissue transfer techniques.
- Post-operative management and rehabilitation of patients with head and neck oncologic conditions and reconstructions.
- Participation in Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Clinic.
- Participation in management of a multidisciplinary Head and Neck Oncology Tumor Board within an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center.
- Multidisciplinary treatment planning and coordination with radiation oncology, medical oncology, other surgical-medical services (i.e. thoracic surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, dermatology, etc.), pathology, radiology, speech pathology and prosthodontics for patients with head and neck neoplastic diseases. This includes neoplastic diseases of the upper aerodigestive tract, skull base, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, salivary glands and skin.
- Participation in presentation of a head and neck reconstructive core curriculum lecture program for residents and medical students.
Strengths: The broad educational purpose of this fellowship program is directed to graduating fellows who develop and have superior proficiency in head and neck surgical oncology. An important strength of this program is exposure to the full depth and breadth of transoral techniques for upper aerodigestive tract malignancies, including both transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) and transoral robotic surgery (TORS). Additionally, our fellows graduate with an expert level of confidence with complex head and neck reconstruction and independent skills in microvascular free tissue transfer. Competence in choice and execution of flaps from all relevant donor sites for reconstruction of a full range of recipient sites is attained (free tissue transfer, regional flaps and local flaps). Another important feature of the fellowship is a broad experience in open and endoscopic skull base resection and reconstruction with two dedicated skull base surgeons within our group.
The fellow benefits from working within a strong multidisciplinary team, including dedicated radiation and medical oncologists, surgical pathologists, epidemiologists and neuroradiologists. In addition to a weekly tumor board, the fellow actively participates in the weekly head and neck multidisciplinary clinic. In this unique clinic patients are seen simultaneously by head and neck surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology in order to facilitiate treatment planning and multidisciplinary discussions.
Eligibility: To be considered for the position, the candidate for the head and neck fellowship must have a degree in medicine, and completed and graduated from an accredited residency in Otolaryngology. Candidates should provide the preceptors of the fellowship with three letters of reference, at least two from faculty members of the training program of origin, one of whom is the program chairman. Preference is given to those applicants who have performed exceptionally in their residency program and excelled in the six core competencies. We place an emphasis on l) a high level of technical proficiency, 2) a keen interest in academic otolaryngology as a future career and 3) a strong track record in teaching and working well with other trainees and faculty. Salary is commensurate with PGY level.
Our Advanced Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction fellows hold dual titles: First as Clinical Fellow and second as Instructor of Otolaryngology. In order to participate in our head and neck fellowship program, it will be necessary for you to qualify for an H1B Visa. Therefore, you must have taken all three steps of the USMLE’s to become licensed and eligible.
Fellows’ Duties/Responsibilities: Clinical responsibilities are divided amongst 6 head and neck surgeons and 2 endoscopic skull base surgeons. These clinical responsibilities are divided between the clinic, the operating room and postoperative care. In a typical week, the fellow’s time is divided by approximately 1 day per week in the clinic and 4 days in the operating room. The fellow evaluates and manages patients with advanced head and neck oncologic conditions, including those undergoing transoral surgeries (transoral laser microsurgery or transoral robotic), open partial laryngectomies, surgery for paragangliomas, surgery for skull base malignancies (endoscopic and open), and complex reconstructive surgeries requiring free tissue transfer. All clinical care is done in close collaboration with the otolaryngology residents and under the supervision of the faculty. The fellow has an Instructor position with the medical school and is expected to function at this level. As such, for other head and neck cases, including laryngectomies, thyroidectomies, parotidectomies, neck dissections and sentinel lymph node biopsies, etc.), the fellow supervises the work of the residents and takes more of a teaching physician role, particularly in the operating room.
Research Opportunities: The fellow is required to formally allocate approximately 10% of his/her time to research. This involves designing a research project, acquisition and analysis of data. A large tissue repository is available for molecular/translational research projects within an established laboratory. For clinical research, data is acquired from epidemiologic databases or patient charts. There are significant options available for research projects, with an impressive infrastructure within the department and institution for support. One written abstract/manuscript is expected to be submitted for either a peer-reviewed scientific program or for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Projects undertaken by fellows have included detailed measurements of flap dimensions for precise planning of head and neck reconstructions, analysis of how preoperative variables correlate with postoperative outcomes, and defining quality metrics for patients undergoing surgery for head and neck malignancies. Data analysis and outcomes of transoral laser microsurgery cases has produced several publications and data is collected on a regular basis for future studies.
Supervision, Teaching & Call: The fellow works in a teaching and supervisory role to the otolaryngology residents. He/she provides oversight and support to the residents in pre-operative, operative, and post-operative care of the head and neck patient, including regular ward rounds with the residents. During resident-level operative procedures, the fellow acts in a teaching surgeon role to the residents and helps them develop their technical skills. The fellow is also available to provide assistance and supervision to residents for inpatient consultations.
The fellows are required to take department otolaryngology call 1 weekday per month, and 1 weekend approximately every 4 months. This is equitable with the call responsibilities with the other faculty members in the department. The fellows also take call for the patients that they directly take part in surgical or non-surgical management of their neoplastic disease.
24-25 Karolina Plonowska-Hirschfeld, MD- Incoming
24-25 Michael Wu, MD- Incoming
23-24 Zaid Al-Qurayshi, MD- Current Fellow
23-24 Tara Mokhtari, MD- Current Fellow
22-23 Molly Heft Neal, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Michigan
22-23 Ray Wang, MD, Assistant Professor, Baylor college of Medicine
21-22- Sepehr Shabani, MD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Texas Medical Branch
20-21- Carey Wood, MD, Baptist Medical Group, Germantown, Tennessee
19-20- Craig Bollig, MD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
19-20- Katelyn Stepan, MD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology, Feinberg School of Medicine
18-19- Zain Rizvi, MD- Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, University of Washington
18-19- Sean Massa, MD- Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, St. Louis University School of Medicine
16-17- James Martin, MD- Mercy Hospital, St. Louis, MO
16-17- Jamie Segel, MD – Department of Otolaryngology, ECU Health Medical Center, Greenville, North Carolina
15-16- Patrik Pipkorn, MD- Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology, Washington University School of Medicine
14-15- Nancy Judd, MD- Kaiser Permanente, Falls Church Branch
13-14- Thomas Nagel, MD- Department of Otolaryngology, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Arizona
12-13- Maha Al Gilani, MD- Department of Otolaryngology, Zain Hospital, Kuwait
11-12- Michael Stadler, MD- Chief, Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin
10-11- Ryan Gaines, MD- Department of Otolaryngology, UC Health, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
08-09- Trevor Hackman, MD- Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Fellowship Director, Advanced Surgical Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction, University of North Carolina Health at Chapel Hill, North Carolina
07-08- Brian Miller, MD- Mayo Surgical Associates, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
07-08- Todd Brickman, MD-
06-07- Baran Sumer, MD- Professor and Chief, Division of Head and Neck Oncology, Department of Otolaryngology, UT Southwestern
05-06- Andy Chung, MD- Medical Associates of Navarro County, Corsicana, Texas
04-05- Vidyasagar Ramakrishnan, MD-
03-04- Christian Simon, MD- Professor and Chairman, Department of Otolaryngology, University Medical Center Vaud and University of Lausanne, Switzerland
02-03- Brian Gastman, MD-Surgical Director, Melanoma & High Risk Skin Cancer Program, Cleveland Clinic
01-02- Yash Patil, MD- Professor of Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology, Cincinnati College of Medicine
00-01- S. Mark Taylor, MD- Professor and Chair of Oto-HNS at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada
99-00- Brian Brodish, MD- Department of Otolaryngology, ECU Health Medical Center, Greenville, North Carolina
98-99- Timothy Lian, MD- Professor of Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Florida Health College of Medicine
97-98- Gregory Tarasidis, MD- Greenwood ENT Associates
96-97- Wayne Colin, MD- Lexington, Kentucky
95-96- Ewain Wilson, MD- Chief of Surgery, Wilkes Medical Center , Atrium Health, Wake Forest Baptist, Wilkesboro, North Carolina
93-94- James Beggs, MD
92-93- Andrew Lerrick, MD