By Meher Rakkar, MS1, Class of 2024, University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix City, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery recently hosted a virtual student forum entitled Is OTO in Your Future? Introducing 750 students to the field of otolaryngology, moderator Dr Gregory Randolph (FACS, FACE, Claire and John Bertucci Endowed Chair in Thyroid Surgical Oncology, Harvard Medical School and Director Thyroid/Parathyroid Endocrine Surgical Division, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary) was joined by seven panellists with experience in private practice and academia, representing diverse subspecialties. They discussed commonly treated conditions, what their average day involves, typical surgeries performed, the OTO residency application and matching process, women in otolaryngology, work life considerations, and diversity in the specialty.
As a student from an institution that does not have a home otolaryngology residency programme, this webinar was extremely helpful in organising my priorities as a competitive candidate in a career I am passionate about. Panelists went out of their way to offer resources and make us feel welcome! As a woman interested in a future surgical specialty, I especially appreciated the inclusion of successful female surgeons who have mastered the art of work-life balance. The panel was diverse in age, gender, race, and subspecialty, and offered valuable advice on pursuing success in a competitive field without sacrificing the most important things in life. With examples of this in their own lives, they exemplified diversity and the willingness to be open about their personal journeys. It helped me realise how attainable that goal is. The overwhelming takeaway of the webinar was that otolaryngology is a field that celebrates people from all walks of life, and that those who find success are the ones who continue to find the joy in their work.
The AAO-HNSF has more forums planned throughout 2021:
- You Matched, So What Now? (March 2021)
- What Does the First Year of Residency Look Like? (April 2021)
- Diversity in Otolaryngology: Present and Future (May 2021)
Students are encouraged to check the website for additional information: www.entnet.org/content/medical-student-resources