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Cotton-Fitton Lecture: Pediatric Otolaryngology Training is Valuable

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Marci M. Lesperance, MD

Recent surveys indicate that more than half of otolaryngology residents plan to pursue fellowship training, with pediatric otolaryngology a frequent choice. Advances in medicine allowing children with life-threatening illnesses to survive into adulthood and the growing number of pediatric hospitals have helped spur growth and interest in the field.

From 2002 to 2015, the number of pediatric otolaryngology fellowship programs increased from 18 to 32. The American College of Graduate Medical Education first developed criteria to accredit programs in 1995, and currently a majority of programs are accredited.

Marci M. Lesperance, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI, will discuss current issues in pediatric otolaryngology, with a focus on the current state of fellowship training, when she presents the Cotton-Fitton Endowed Lecture in Pediatric Otolaryngology, “Pediatric Otolaryngology: The Value Proposition of Subspecialty Training,” from 9:45 am-10:45 am today in Ballroom C4.

“Otolaryngology always has been blessed to attract the best and brightest. I think all of us who review residency applications from incredible students feel like there is no way we would have been accepted if we had to compete for a position today. We have a similar feeling when we look at the high quality of fellowship applicants,” said Dr. Lesperance, who was an otolaryngology fellow in the mid-1990s when the American College of Graduate Medical Education was developing criteria to accredit pediatric otolaryngology fellowships.

Beyond having a desire and aptitude to work with children, those interested in pediatric otolaryngology are drawn to the opportunity to take care of a variety of problems.

“In other subspecialties, choosing a fellowship or academic career means giving up some aspect of otolaryngology, but many pediatric otolaryngologists continue to have a broadly based practice,” Dr. Lesperance said. “I also see that clinician-scientists are drawn to pediatric otolaryngology. Among previous Cotton-Fitton lecturers are renowned clinician-scientists, Joe Kerschner and Richard Smith, who are inspirational to young people who want to pursue independent research careers that are symbiotic with their clinical practices.”

She will discuss clinical cases that illustrate the scope of pediatric otolaryngology, including some of the 2015 American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology video competition winners. Selected from among 21 four-minute video submissions, the cases highlight the value of gaining experience in the management of complex pediatric cases, including surgical treatment of a nasal meningocele, endoscopic posterior cricoid grafting for bilateral vocal cord paralysis, and treatment of a foreign body in the airway.

“It is a tremendous honor to give the Cotton-Fitton Lecture and to address my colleagues in this wonderful specialty of ours,” Dr. Lesperance said. “I would like attendees to come away with an understanding of pediatric otolaryngology today, especially to continue to attract young people to the field.”