Welcome to Philadelphia!
Annual Meeting Program Coordinator Daniel C. Chelius, Jr., MD, welcomes you to the City of Brotherly Love and talks about the Annual Meeting’s community-building and collaboration.
Daniel C. Chelius, Jr., MD, AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting Program Coordinator, believes that, more than anything, community is at the core of the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting. Recently, he visited with AAO-HNSF Meeting Daily News to share his thoughts about the meeting and the desire to strengthen and build upon that sense of community while optimizing opportunities for engagement and learning from the very best in otolaryngology.
Q: What excites you most about this year’s Annual Meeting?
As an attendee, no question, it's the chance to reconnect with friends and colleagues, many of whom I haven't seen since New Orleans in 2019! The registration turnout for the meeting has been really exceptional, far exceeding projections from expert consultants in the meetings and conventions industry. So I'm mostly ecstatic to see our community reconnecting. As the Coordinator, I'm terribly excited to see the brilliant proposals we've been receiving from our presenters and faculty finally come to life. I'm also really excited to see the great conversations and practical problem-solving taking place in some of our new platforms like Business Solutions for Breakfast with the Private Practice Study Group, Luncheons with the Clinical Experts, and the Annual Meeting Office Hours.
Q: How long have you been attending the Annual Meeting and what was your first time like?
When I was a PGY-2 trainee at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), I covered resident call in Houston with my neurotology faculty, Dr. Bobby Williamson, while my co-residents and many faculty went to Washington, DC, for the Annual Meeting. Dr. Williamson and I had possibly the worst four days of call in the history of the city, and I swore I would never miss another Annual Meeting during residency. I had a Poster accepted to the 2008 meeting in Chicago, and I've made almost every meeting since with the exception of Vancouver in 2013, which my wife and I spent welcoming our middle child, Charlotte. Three things stand out most clearly from that Chicago meeting: First, I saw my friend and residency classmate, current AAO-HNSF International Coordinator Dr. Mark Zafereo actively engaging in leadership at the Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training (SRF) General Assembly, and he inspired me to step up and volunteer at the Academy; second, then Board of Governors Chair-elect Dr. Gavin Setzen spoke to a group of us trainees about how vital and welcome our voices were in the Academy, and it remains one of the key formative moments of my AAO-HNS engagement; and finally, I went out to the first of what would be many small Annual Meeting reunion dinners with a group of BCM residents and alumni, and it's still one of my favorite evenings of each year.
Q: How has your experience at the Annual Meeting guided you as Program Coordinator?
The beautiful thing about the Annual Meeting is that you get to meet a wonderfully diverse collection of friends, teachers, role models, and colleagues from every corner of the house of otolaryngology. As the Annual Meeting Program Committee members and I are thinking about the program and design for the meeting, we’re trying to make a meeting that will appeal to our entire community.
Q: You’ve spoken before about the importance of the mentor-mentee relationship in this specialty. What opportunities will there be at the meeting to foster these relationships?
With all the attention to the importance of mentorship over the past 20 years, I think sometimes we can get stuck in the mindset of an all-or-nothing global mentorship relationship. The reality is that we all need different kinds of focused mentorships for different aspects of our personal and professional lives. Getting to know peer mentors at the Annual Meeting has been critical to my professional development. Colleagues like Dr. Jeffrey Liu, Dr. Samantha Anne, Dr. Jeffrey Rastatter, and Dr. Cristina Baldassari were initially collaborators in activities during the Annual Meeting but became some of my dearest friends and often my most important peer mentors. Additionally, I’ve had incredible mentorship from a number of Academy leaders and role models I also got to know during the Annual Meeting like Dr. Mark Wax, Dr. Stacey Ishman, Dr. Sanjay Parikh, Dr. Sukgi Choi, Dr. Al Merati, and Dr. James Denneny. The interesting thing is that each of these relationships was formed through different aspects of the Annual Meeting, whether through participation in SRF or the Young Physicians Section (YPS), presenting science or panels, or engaging in committee work. When we find colleagues with similar interests in the halls of the Annual Meeting, it’s an excellent opportunity for mentor-mentee relationships to begin. I think this year’s new conversation-based problem-solving activities like the Business Solutions for Breakfast and the Luncheons with the Clinical Experts are particularly fertile ground for mentorship.
Q: How have you developed the meeting to appeal to attendees in all stages of their careers?
There is really something for everyone at the Annual Meeting. We have a 125-year tradition of critical scientific discourse that will continue this year with one of the largest Scientific Oral and poster programs in recent memory, including 80 late-breaking scientific abstracts. We have a 100-year history of Instruction Courses and didactic education that will feature the thought leaders in our field passing on the core of our knowledge base and debating our path forward. We are incorporating Simulation education more extensively than ever before. We are very happy to see the committee meetings returning to the Annual Meeting footprint. With few exceptions, these meetings are open to all attendees and are an excellent place to get started in Academy engagement. We have new events focused on practical problem solving and informal discussion, including the Annual Meeting Office Hours, Business Solutions for Breakfast and Luncheons with the Clinical Experts. We have the largest otolaryngology technology exhibition in the world with innovation at every turn. No matter what your learning style or your preferred form of engagement, we have something that should address each attendee’s interests.
Q: Global otolaryngology is an important part of the Annual Meeting. How will that global element be represented at this year’s meeting?
We know that has been a struggle for our international colleagues to join us during the past several years of the pandemic. We are so excited to see many international colleagues returning to join us this year and have seen a particularly strong turnout from the international community in our scientific presentations. We have 34 International Symposium presentations taking place throughout the meeting and multiple reunion events for international members, such as the Pan American Society and the Korean American Satellite Symposium. I’m very grateful to Dr. Mark Zafereo, the AAO-HNSF International Coordinator, for really shining a light on our global otolaryngology community.
Q: What are you picking as don’t-miss events at this year’s meeting?
The Great Debates scheduled throughout the meeting will highlight 12 of the most critical and contentious current questions in our field. The multiple conversation-based problem-solving sessions such as the Office Hours and educational breakfasts and luncheons will be a highlight for many members. I’m personally excited to attend the Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) assembly on Monday, which is open to all attendees. We’ve seen wonderful strides toward improved equity in our community, and so many of the efforts get their energy from this annual assembly. WIO chair Dr. Priya Krishna and her leadership team have planned an unforgettable session. Finally, I can’t stress enough the importance for residents and young physicians who are interested in becoming more involved in our community to attend the SRF and YPS General Assemblies Sunday evening.
Q: As you look back, what’s one unforgettable moment you’ve had at an Annual Meeting?
I was in a general community-based otolaryngology practice for several years before I returned to academic pediatric otolaryngology. In my practice, I had a patient suffering from years of chronic cough causing her significant mental and emotional distress. I learned specific strategies in an Instruction Course at the 2012 Annual Meeting to diagnose and manage neurogenic cough that I brought home to Houston, and it changed her life. I will never forget her, and I will always be grateful to the course faculty.
Q: Looking forward, what lasting impression do you hope to make on this year’s meeting?
I think this year’s meeting is all about a return to community. We’ve designed so much of the meeting around the belief that our greatest asset is the colleagues at our side and that we will serve our patients and our fields best by strengthening that community, leaning on each other’s insights, and addressing our day-to-day problems head-on with an experienced community of colleagues. I hope that belief comes across in this year’s program and helps make this a truly memorable and successful meeting.