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Miller School Represents at American Head and Neck Society International Conference

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery delivered important information at the American Head and Neck Society 10th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer, held virtually July 22-25.

Dr. Donald T. Weed

The meeting, which is held every three years, assembles renowned head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, basic scientists, and other disciplines, and features the latest research in head and neck cancers. This year’s theme was “Survivorship through Quality & Innovation,” which included presentations on interdisciplinary cooperation and the important roles of nurses, speech language pathologists, audiologists, mental health practitioners and other experts in achieving maximal functional outcomes for patients.

“AHNS hosts the premier multidisciplinary global conference on head and neck cancer,” Fred Telischi, M.D., chair of otolaryngology, professor of otolaryngology, neurological surgery, and biomedical engineering at the Miller School.

The Miller School Department’s presentations ranged from moderating sessions and presenting research to working on the virtual meeting’s behind-the-scenes success. Miller School Head & Neck faculty fellows, residents, and medical students, as well as members of the Department’s Speech Division, were selected for 17 presentations at the American Head and Neck Society 10th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer.

Long, Varied Presentation List

Elizabeth Franzmann, M.D., a head and neck surgeon at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of otolaryngology at the Miller School, was senior author for an abstract entitled “12-Month Smoking Cessation Program Lowers Soluble CD44 Levels in a High-risk Population.” That abstract, presented by Drew Smith, M.D., was selected for podium presentation.

Dr. Giovana R. Thomas

Giovana R. Thomas, M.D., FACS, professor in the Division of Head and Neck Surgery, director of minimally invasive and robotic surgery, and co-director of the Head and Neck Fellowship Program in the Department of Otolaryngology at the Miller School, was one of the experts chosen to moderate the proffered papers panel entitled “Function/Quality/Reconstruction.” Dr. Thomas was recently appointed to a five-year term on the Advanced Training Council (ATC) of the AHNS.

Dr. Thomas joins fellow Miller School of Medicine faculty member Donald T. Weed, M.D., FACS, on the ATC. Dr. Weed, the W. Jarrard Goodwin Professor and vice chair for academic affairs, is chairman of the ATC, the administrative group responsible for overseeing all AHNS-approved fellowships in the United States and Canada.

Miller School faculty also participated in the international meeting in other ways.

Zoukaa B. Sargi, M.D., M.P.H., professor of clinical otolaryngology and neurosurgery and director of the residency program in the Department of Otolaryngology, was a member of the Scientific Committee that determined the Conference’s program agenda.

Dr. Sargi, along with colleagues Elizabeth Nicolli M.D., associate program director of the Residency Program and assistant professor of clinical otolaryngology in the Division of Head & Neck Surgery; Christine Dinh M.D., associate program director of the Neurotology Fellowship Program, associate director of the T32 Otolaryngology surgeon scientist program, and associate professor of clinical otolaryngology in the Division of Otology and Neurotology; first author Erin R. Cohen, M.D., otolaryngology resident graduate of the University of Miami (‘21) and clinical fellow in Head and Neck Oncology/ Microvascular Reconstruction at the University of Pennsylvania; and several mentees presented the poster, “Redefining Perineural Invasion in Head and Neck Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma,” which was selected “Best of Topic.”

Careers Advice Offered

Dr. Weed,  co-leader of the Head and Neck Site Disease Group at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of Otolaryngology, moderated a panel discussion with other AHNS senior leaders geared towards head and neck fellows, providing them advice about how to find jobs and start their careers as head and neck surgeons.

Dr. Weed and his collaborator Paolo Serafini, Ph.D., assistant professor in Microbiology and Immunology, along with their colleagues in the Head and Neck Surgery Division of the Department of Otolaryngology presented long-term results of a phase I clinical trial conducted at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center entitled “The Reversal of Immune Exclusion Mediated by Tadalafil and an Anti-tumor Vaccine Also Induces PDL1 Up-regulation in Recurrent Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma:  Final Analysis Including Clinical Outcomes of a Phase I Clinical Trial.

“Drs. Weed and Serafini also presented results of a novel technique to define the spatial relationships of immune cell populations in head and neck cancers entitled, “Validation of a Multiplex Immunofluorescence Technique for Spatial Characterization of Immune Cell Populations in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC).”

“The Miller School’s participation at this year’s American Head and Neck Society 10th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer is a true reflection of the collaborative work of our Division with multiple disciplines, both to take care of head and neck cancer patients and to advance research in the field,” Dr. Sargi said. “Not only were all our head and neck surgeons involved in projects that were presented at the Conference, but also Miller School speech pathologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists.”

Tags: American Head and Neck Society, Department of Otolaryngology, Dr. Donald T. Weed, Dr. Giovana R. Thomas, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center