Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery

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Head and Neck Fellowship

Head and Neck Fellowship

The Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Division at IU School of Medicine offers a one-year clinical head and neck oncology and reconstructive surgery fellowship. This multidisciplinary experience is designed to prepare trainees for a career in academic head and neck surgery.

IU School of Medicine is the only academic medical center in the state of Indiana that serves a population of more than six million head and neck cancer patients. The primary strength of the otolaryngology fellowship program stems from the enthusiasm of the faculty members, from their breadth and depth of patient care and from their wealth of teaching experience.

Fellows gain exposure to techniques involved in advanced ablative and endocrine procedures, open and endoscopic skull base surgery, and head and neck reconstruction. This includes a large volume of free tissue transfers as well as transoral approaches to throat malignancies (both CO2 laser and transoral robotic surgery). Fellows also have opportunity to get hands-on exposure to the medical and radiation oncology care of head and neck cancer patients.

Clinical Expectations and Call Schedule

Head and neck fellows are involved in all major head and neck surgical cases. They assist in the training of senior residents in moderately complex head and neck procedures, while serving as the primary surgeon/first assistant for free flap harvests and most components of head and neck reconstructive procedures. Each week, fellows lead their own outpatient clinic for a half to one full day, where they see patients with general otolaryngology and head and neck disorders. They are also be provided a half to one full day per week to schedule their own operative procedures from this practice. At any time, the fellow may approach other staff from the institution to assist with or provide surgical backup for the procedures. Fellows also assist with staffing of inpatient consults at IU Health University Hospital.

The resident team, headed by the chief resident, has primary responsibility of day-to-day patient care, however, fellows are asked to actively follow all major head and neck patients and oversee their care with additional attending supervision.

During the course of the year, fellows are required to generate and complete a clinical research project worthy of submission for publication and/or presentation at a national or international meeting. Fellows also have the opportunity to spend two weeks on the medical oncology service (primarily in clinic) and an additional two weeks in clinic with the head and neck radiation oncology team to gain a more in-depth appreciation for these aspects of cancer therapy.

Fellows are included in the staff otolaryngology call schedule and cover approximately four weeks of call during the year. They are also asked to be available, within reason, for active issues that arise with in-patient head and neck cancer patients.

Supervision and Teaching Expectations

On the head and neck surgical team, there is one chief resident (PGY 5) and one senior resident (PGY 4). Head and neck surgical fellows are integrated into the team with the goal of optimizing the training experience while improving patient care. Once proficiency is demonstrated, fellows transition into a supervised staff role, where they instruct residents on moderately complex head and neck surgical procedures such as neck dissections, thyroidectomies, and salivary gland surgery. Fellows work with the head and neck surgical staff for all free flap harvests and microvascular anastamoses, with senior residents incorporated when appropriate. The chief resident has the primary responsibility of dictating patient care, with fellows maintaining direct communication with the team on all major head and neck cases.

Head and neck fellows are intimately involved in training of residents and medical students during the fellowship experience. They participate in the Otolaryngology Grand Rounds and lecture once every three months. Head and neck fellows organize and lead the head and neck surgery team’s presentations at the weekly IU School of Medicine Oncology Conference.

At the completion of the academic year, fellows teach a portion of the head and neck reconstructive section at the annual IU Anatomy and Histopathology Course. This allows fellows to reinforce their experience in free flap harvest and head and neck reconstructive theory as they prepare to transition into practice.

How to Apply

Applications for the fellowship year beginning in July 2020 will be accepted starting December of 2018 through the Advanced Training Council of the American Head and Neck Society. Interviews are held from January to May of 2019. Those interested can learn more though the American Head and Neck Society or email Jane Adamson, Otolaryngology Residency coordinator.