In celebration of Nash Patil’s inauguration as President of the Irish Otolaryngology Society (IOS), we dropped by to ask him a few questions, along with Gerry O’Donoghue, BACO 2020 Master. We’re particularly pleased to hear that Nash is looking forward to BACO 2020 in Birmingham, and that there is promise of a strong Irish presence.

Nash Patil Gerry Odonoghue

Nash, congratulations on your Presidency of IOS! 

I’ve been involved with the IOS for over a decade, initially as a registrar and subsequently as Southern Secretary. I was fortunate enough to be nominated Vice-President and will take over as President when my colleague and friend, Cate Scally, completes her term in October 2019. I’ve been intimately involved in almost all of its facets, including building up financial reserves, setting up a website, and reaching out to international members. In 2015 I was able to link the society with Failte Ireland. Through the IOS I’ve made many enduring friendships, and believe that the society has been of great benefit to its members.

Gerry, have you been involved with the IOS?

I’ve always enjoyed attending the IOS! Their meetings have a special atmosphere, combining an excellent educational programme with a pleasant social dimension. My first was in 1980 at the glorious seaside resort of Rosapenna, Donegal. There I presented my first ENT paper, on epithelial migration on the tympanic membrane. I recall being taken aback when, in the evening, we returned for the William Wilde Discourse finding the gentlemen in black tie and the ladies in their finery. I was unaware of this custom and arrived in ‘smart casual’ apparel. But I don’t recall that anybody minded in the slightest. Little did I realise then that in 2013 I’d have the great honour of being the Sir William Wilde Discourser myself! I was presented with the silver medal by the celebrated Mr Tadhg O’Dwyer, who was President that year.

Do you remember your first BACO experience?

Nash - My first BACO experience was as an SHO in Northern Ireland. I went to BACO in Glasgow.  I’d arrived in Northern Ireland from Mumbai only a few months prior, so BACO was my very first interaction with senior members of the speciality, including David Moffat, of whom I’d heard of in India! Since then I’ve had the good fortune to attend a number of BACO meetings at different venues.

Gerry - It was Dublin 1991, and was a grand affair. BACO Master was the legendary Sir Donald Harrison. Tony Bull was Chair of the Academic Committee with Martin Bailey as Secretary. The former President of the RCS in Ireland, John McAuliffe-Curtin, chaired the Executive Committee with Eric Fenelon as Secretary. And the faculty was a veritable ‘who’s who’ of otolaryngology at the time - among them such celebrated names as Austin, Brackmann, Cook, Cotton, Crumley, de Santo, Guilleminault, Healy, Hough, Kennedy, Lucenti, Lusk, Strong,  and Wielinga. The President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, attended the dinner. So IOS has a real historical link with BACO and one we want to foster.

What are your plans for BACO 2020 and how do you think it will be different to previous BACOs?

Nash - The IOS will play a vibrant role in BACO 2020. We have already profiled the meeting on our website and will seek to have as many of our members attend the event as possible. Professor Rory McConn Walsh, our Southern Secretary, has been co-opted to the Academic Council, and will undoubtedly bring wisdom and value. All in all, the IOS will work very hard with our colleagues in ENT UK to make BACO 2020 as stellar a meeting as possible.

Gerry - ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’ is a wonderful Irish proverb; we have no strength until we work together. So I really want the BACO family to come together in 2020, to learn from one another, to foster collaboration and enjoy social events. It is fortunate that Nash will be IOS President for BACO 2020 as we share views on collegiality and firmly believe in the value of our professional associations working together for the common good. IOS members will enjoy the same benefits as members of ENT UK. I am also pleased the Professor Rory McConn-Walsh will work on the academic programme and ensure a strong representation of Irish colleagues to showcase the best of Irish otolaryngology. Other BACO 2020 partners include the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, and the Canadian Association, so the meeting will buzz with activity! A delightful social programme is planned. I look forward with Nash to welcoming many Irish colleagues to Birmingham, and perhaps BACO might one day return to Dublin.