On Stage and In Focus at the #OTOMTG23 Opening Ceremony
From the Joy of Medicine and Leading in Healthcare to the Conley Lecture, the Opening Ceremony was an inspiring jump-start to the Annual Meeting.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, nestled in the heart of Music City, was host to the official Opening Ceremony of the AAO-HNSF 2023 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience. This unique venue provided the audience with a “front-row” experience for Sunday morning’s Annual Meeting kick-off event, starting with the National Anthem performed by country music singer, Lana Scott.
After the showing of “The Joy of Medicine,” and as the audience could reflect on their own personal joys, Kathleen L. Yaremchuk, MD, MSA, AAO-HNS/F President, walked on stage and extended a warm welcome to all attendees for this traditional, annual gathering of the global otolaryngology community.
Dr. Yaremchuk provided inspiring words to the crowd in recognition of how their work was the critical impetus for the world navigating through the COVID pandemic. “There was much we didn’t know, but we were sure that we would be the ones who would be instrumental in getting us to the other side. You were on the front lines. I know you were. I saw you in the emergency room, the intensive care units, the operating room, and those swabbing tents. No one did better at swabbing a nose than we did.”
In an exercise of recognition for the accomplishments made collectively and individually of those in the theater, Dr. Yaremchuk asked attendees to look around and recognize each person as a giant in the field for their contributions to patient care. “We are at our best when we stand shoulder to shoulder with our students, residents, and colleagues, challenging the status quo and improving the care we deliver to our patients. Because, after all, that is why we are all here, isn’t it? You have been on the front lines, you have served your community and profession and you show up to learn, as you always do.”
At the close of Dr. Yaremchuk’s remarks, the audience was then reminded of the power and ripple effect of their work in big and small ways with the showing of “Leading in Healthcare,” which served as a reminder that, “As we navigate this evolving landscape, our collective large and small acts will be needed for our specialty’s voice to be heard and to continue to heed the call for change today and tomorrow.” And echoing the sentiments of Dr. Yaremchuk, the video reminded the audience that, “At all times and in all places – the Academy is here for you!”
For the second year in a row, the John Conley, MD Lecture on Medical Ethics was presented during the Opening Ceremony. Jennifer R. Grandis, MD, professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and member of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, served as Honorary Guest Lecturer and presented on the topic, “Building and Sustaining Careers: A Gender Equity Lens.”
Dr. Grandis shared how women scientists and physicians are underrepresented in leadership positions, experience more discrimination and harassment, and are paid less than men. She highlighted ways to recognize barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion and challenged attendees to consider their own biases and how they may impact the ability to recognize discrimination and harassment. Dr. Grandis also focused on what each individual can do to mitigate discrimination and harassment in professional environments.
“The women alone cannot fix the system that is inherently inequitable,” Dr. Grandis noted as she discussed her research over the years. “At the end of the day, we just have to get comfortable talking about these things. It is not a mystery. We need a culture and a language free from retaliation and harm. And we need to do better.”
Following the thought-provoking address by Dr. Grandis, Dr. Yaremchuk expressed heartfelt remarks about her Presidential Citation awardees: Pell Ann Wardrop, MD, Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, her family, and Mark A. Kelley, MD.
In the final moments of the AAO-HNSF 2023 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience Opening Ceremony, the audience witnessed the time-honored ceremonial presentation of the President’s medallion to Douglas D. Backous, MD, who will begin his term as AAO-HNS/F at the close of the 2023 Annual Meeting. The final moment was the presentation of the gavel to Dr. Yaremchuk for her year-long service as AAO-HNS/F President.
And with that, the audience left their seats to begin their individual and collective Annual Meeting experiences and participation in all this four-day event offers them, with the reminder from the Academy that, “We are here for you.”