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Multifaceted Programs Bring High Rankings to Department of Otolaryngology

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery was recently recognized by two prestigious ratings organizations.

UM offers comprehensive pediatric otolaryngology services. For example, the Children’s Hearing Program of the UM Ear Institute treats over 2,000 kids with ear and hearing loss issues annually. Oliver’s Hearing Aid Bank provides loaner devices for those in need.

The otolaryngology program at University of Miami Hospital was ranked No. 35 in the country in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals survey, and the department was ranked No. 14 in the nation for NIH-funded research as compiled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.

“These recent accolades underscore the commitment to providing the best possible personalized patient care through sustained effort in research, education and clinical innovation by our outstanding team of faculty, staff and trainees,” said Fred Telischi, M.D., M.E.E., Chairman, Professor and James R. Chandler Chair of Otolaryngology. “Patients and trainees at various stages of their careers travel to our facilities from all over the world for both treatment and education by our otolaryngology faculty.”

“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our Department of Otolaryngology,” said Edward Abraham, M.D., Dean of the Miller School of Medicine, acting executive vice president for Health Affairs and CEO of UHealth-the University of Miami Health System. “They typify the professional excellence and commitment to patient care found throughout our health system. We are very pleased that they have received this recognition.”

Commonly known as ear, nose and throat, or ENT, otolaryngology includes the treatment of a wide variety of disorders related to the head, neck and face. The department’s specialists treat patients with dysfunction of the senses of smell, taste, hearing and balance, as well as vocal communication, swallowing and upper airway breathing.

Head and Neck Surgery
The head and neck cancer surgery division includes one of the country’s largest and most respected groups of academic ENT cancer surgeons, who treat complex tumors of the aerodigestive tract and related structures.

Miller School medical students and otolaryngology residents, fellows and faculty conduct the annual head and neck cancer screening event, one of the largest in the country.

“Our physicians have set the standard for both innovative surgical resections, including minimally invasive and robotic techniques, and reconstruction after tumor removal using the full spectrum of microvascular free tissue and bone flaps,” Telischi said. “New technology for oral cavity cancer screening, prognostic sentinel node identification and biopsy, clinical trials testing novel immune system modulators in combination with surgical resection, and photodynamic therapy are just a few areas of research conducted by these surgeon-scientists. Their work is complemented by a talented group of speech and swallowing therapists whose clinical expertise and research into novel methods of speech and swallowing rehabilitation after complex treatments for head and neck cancer are nationally recognized.”

Auditory Programs

The University of Miami Ear Institute, one of the most comprehensive centers of its kind, is a center for research, education and clinical excellence related to the ear and hearing. Its ear surgeons and audiologists have maintained the largest auditory implant programs in Florida, and they are among the busiest in the nation. The cochlear implant center has restored the ability to hear sounds and recognize spoken language to more than 1,000 deaf children and adults over the last two decades. The department also participates in the majority of clinical trials involving important new auditory devices.

Dr. Xue Liu and colleagues have discovered almost 20 percent of the known mutations implicated in genetic hearing losses, such as those that caused the deafness in the largest single family of siblings receiving cochlear implants on record by UM Ear Institute surgeons.

The Genetic Hearing Loss Program, a longstanding collaboration between the Department of Otolaryngology and the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics, includes one of the most prolific, continuously NIH-funded otolaryngology research programs in the country. Faculty in the academic audiology group conduct clinical and research activities related to hearing examinations, vestibular dizziness and balance testing, and rehabilitation with hearing aids and assistive listening devices. A long history of collaboration between the School of Engineering’s Biomedical Engineering program and the Ear Institute has resulted in numerous patents, research grants, presentations, publications and, most important, clinical innovations that improve patient care.

Drs. David Rosow and Donna Lundy lead a team of laryngologists and speech pathologists who manage the entire range of vocal, throat and swallowing disorders, with an emphasis on professional voices, such as that of a singer. Their collaboration with the Frost School of Music includes an annual celebration of World Voice Day.

Voice Programs
The professional voice program collaborates with the Frost School of Music to teach students about vocal health and disorders of the larynx. Laryngologists employ state-of-the-art laser and microdissection techniques with the latest endoscopy technology to cure disease while maintaining function of the vocal cords and related structures of the throat. Together with music school faculty and students, the speech pathology team organizes a full day of lectures and singing to celebrate World Voice Day every spring.

Rhinology and Sinus/Nasal Disorders

One of the most exciting revolutions in the field occurred in the early 1990s and UM was, and continues to be, at the forefront of transnasal endoscopic sinus and skull base surgery. UM ENT surgeons pioneered some of the most complex approaches to removing skull base tumors through the nose. Olfactory stem cell research conducted collaboratively among faculty in otolaryngology, neuroscience and the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute aims to elucidate the causes of anosmia, and to develop novel treatments for disorders of smell and taste.

Helping the Youngest Patients
The department’s pediatric otolaryngologists have been recognized for their work in removing complex masses from the youngest children, reconstructing the upper aerodigestive tract, and operating on neonates with EXIT procedures prior to birth. The department was awarded a grant from the State of Florida to study hearing, swallowing, and other head and neck manifestations of congenital Zika virus infection.

Facial Reconstruction and Aesthetics
Faculty from the facial plastic and reconstructive division co-founded the Miller School’s aesthetic medicine group. Among the few truly academic, cosmetically oriented otolaryngology practitioners, they offer a comprehensive approach to the aging face, including access to respected clinical trials, from the latest fillers and laser technologies to elegant approaches for surgical correction of birth deformities, traumatic facial injuries, defects after skin cancer resection, and aesthetic misalignment.

Tags: deafness, Department of Otolaryngology, Fred Telischi, head and neck surgery, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami