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After a full day of education opportunities, covering 11 specialty tracks, and the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the OTO Experience, La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center filled with a broad, diverse audience from around the globe for the official Welcome Ceremony of the AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience.

Albert L. Merati, MD, AAO-HNS/F President, extended a warm welcome, offering inspiration for what moments like the Annual Meeting can provide to each individual as well as the collective group.

“Let us all take a moment now: Look to your right, look to your left. This is your tribe, your greater community. There has never been a more important time to stick together. Whether you are a student, resident or fellow, young physician or a seasoned practitioner, in academic or private practice, whatever ethnic group or gender you represent or where you practice in this great world of ours, we are at our best together.”

This message of togetherness and “We Are One” resonated throughout the ceremony with three special video presentations highlighting the uniqueness of the specialty on the quality of life for patients, the individuality of those who balance commitment to patient care with self-care, and the exceptionality of the impact the AAO-HNS/F has in helping members achieve excellence to provide the best ear, nose, and throat care.

The strength of unity and togetherness on an international level was specifically noted by James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEO: “Our global program has continued to flourish under the leadership of Dr. Pablo Stolovitsky and our entire global team. In 2019, we will have participated in 15 joint meetings… and the International Symposium will have over 50 presentations this year.”

During the Welcome Ceremony, the ceremonial passing of the AAO-HNS/F President’s gavel was presented to Duane J. Taylor, MD, by President Merati. This followed the heartfelt tributes Dr. Merati shared about the four recipients of the 2019 Presidential Citation awardees—Robert H. Ossoff, DMD, MD; Mustafa Gerek, MD; Tanya K. Meyer, MD; and Michael M. Johns III, MD.

The 2019 Presidential Citation awardees with AAO-HNS/F President Albert L. Merati, MD. From left to right: Robert H. Ossoff, DMD, MD; Michael M. Johns III, MD; Dr. Merati; Mustafa Gerek, MD; and Tanya K. Meyer, MD.

At the close of the Welcome Ceremony, attendees joined in a traditional New Orleans Second Line and followed a brass band to the buses for a short ride to the President’s Reception at Mardi Gras World, where the famous floats are made. Attendees were welcomed with New Orleans cuisine, fun, and the sounds of Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters. Day one of the 2019 Annual Meeting was capped off with a taste of New Orleans, networking, and good times, setting unlimited potential and opportunity for the days ahead.