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The primary goal for trainees in the Otolaryngology Residency is developing the knowledge base, surgical skills, clinical acumen and research skills to be successful in a career in otolaryngology. To that end, the program provides an environment and clinical experience that allows professional growth to occur.
The Otolaryngology Residency provides the full spectrum of clinical exposure, with focus on head and neck oncology, pediatric otolaryngology, otology, facial plastics and reconstructive surgery, maxillofacial trauma, laryngology, sinonasal and allergic disease and endocrine surgery.
Residents are expected to be dedicated to the ideals of residency training, with emphasis on the balance of self-directed and facilitated learning, combined with diligence in the execution of patient care responsibilities.
Why Choose Penn State Otolaryngology?
- The program is based on a single inpatient facility, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, with an integrated service. Outpatient experience is obtained through the University Physicians Center on campus, as well as at an off-site outpatient clinic.
- Operative experience is primarily at Hershey Medical Center, but outpatient surgical experiences occur through other SurgiCenters.
- Call responsibilities are for Hershey Medical Center emergency room and inpatient consults, as well as inpatient otolaryngology patients. Residents usually take call from home, at the discretion of the program director. Typically, call schedules are maintained at every fourth night. The program is compliant with current ACGME requirements for resident work hours.
- Three weeks of vacation are provided per year. An additional five days of continuing medical education/education time may be approved at the residency director’s discretion. Learn more about policies and benefits for all residents here.
- The residency program provides access to a full complement of electronic journals and textbooks through Harrell Health Sciences Library and divisional resources.
A Residency Manual is distributed each year to the residents, which includes the program outline, current curriculum, residency policies and examples of tools utilized in resident and program evaluation.
Learn More about the Residency
The Otolaryngology Residency is a fully-accredited training program located in Hershey, Pa. Many clinical facilities reside on the 550-acre main campus, with several satellite offices and surgery centers across central Pennsylvania.
About the Residency
- Two tracks: Five-year clinical or six-year research (with one year of research and five years of clinical), with Match options for one or both programs
- Two residents per year (11 total)
- Head and Neck Endocrine and Oncology Fellowship (one fellow per year)
- A diverse and experienced physician faculty, with specialties including:
- Otolaryngology (includes adult and pediatric skull-base, microvascular free flap reconstruction and cosmetic surgery)
- Head and neck oncology/li>
- Pediatric otolaryngology
- Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery
- In the Department of Otolaryngology, more than 33,000 outpatient visits and nearly 2,700 surgical cases per year
- Approximately 25 resident publications annually
- Approximately 40 regional/national presentations annually
- Resident didactic sessions from 7 to 8 a.m. each weekday
- Multiple workshop courses:
- Internal: Temporal bone dissection, facial plating, laser, facial fillers, pediatric airway, ultrasound
- External: Otorhinolaryngology boot camp, SimFEST, Indiana basic science course, AAOA course, A/O courses, CHOP airway course
Penn State’s Otolaryngology Residency aims to guide the adult learner from medical student to an independent and competent practitioner of the surgical field. The process involves hard work and dedication on the part of educators and learners. A presumption is held that the resident applicant is an intelligent, motivated and dedicated individual who enters the program seeking to reach the goal of competence and even expertise.
With that ideal in mind, the curriculum has been designed and implemented to assist in achieving that goal. Significant independent, self-directed learning is expected from the resident throughout the training program.
The over-arching goals of the program include:
- Guide the resident in development of an extensive fund of knowledge within medicine, and specifically the otolaryngologic sciences.
- Empower the resident in the arena of lifelong learning, as residency is not the completion, but the beginning of this process.
- Provide graduated and progressive responsibility in the care of medical and surgical patients, as determined by training and ability.
- Set forth practices to ensure competent, safe, high-quality and fiscally responsible medical care to the patients under our care, regardless of socioeconomic or cultural background.
- Provide guidance and experiential learning in the area of medical research, as a foundation for furthering the medical field and personal professional growth.
- Provide skills in the identification and application of evidence-based medicine.
- Assist in the creation of effective communication techniques for trainees, for interactions with peers, health care professionals, patients, families and the community at large.
- Promote awareness of the value of coordination of care among members of the
health care delivery system, keeping in mind of safety, quality and cost containment.
- Develop the skills to incorporate formative and summative feedback in continuous practice improvement.
- Promote all aspects of the six ACGME core competencies as they relate to otolaryngology (head and neck surgery).
The Otolaryngology Residency carefully reviews all applications. The candidacy of applicants is not based on any singular factor, but a holistic review of the entire package of provided materials.
Key items required for the selection process include:
- Electronic Residency Application Services (ERAS) application listing experiences
- At least three letters of recommendation
- U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) scores
- Medical school transcript
- Dean’s letter
- Personal statement
Interview offers are then made to applicants who are deemed to have qualifications and attributes best suited to being successful in the program.
Applicants may apply to the Otolaryngology/Clinical Track or Otolaryngology/Research Track in ERAS. This is helpful to the program in prioritizing and best evaluating the application.
However, those who apply for and receive an interview with the Otolaryngology/Clinical Track will also receive information on the research track. The applicant can express interest in consideration for both tracks; however, each applicant needs to rank one or both programs as they fit their interests.
The deadline for application is Nov. 1. Interview dates are typically in December and January. Applicants who are offered an interview will be contacted with date options.
Penn State Health encompasses multiple hospitals and more than 65 clinic sites, as well as joint-venture partnerships such as Penn State Health Rehabilitation Hospital and Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute.
- The only adult and pediatric level one trauma center in Pennsylvania
- Dedicated surgical, neuroscience, cardiovascular, trauma and medical intensive care units
- Life Lion critical-care helicopter transport
- More than 1,300 faculty members and more than 650 residents and fellows
- Built in 2013
- Three-floor expansion due to open in 2020
- Dedicated pediatric operating rooms
The first year is performed at the primary institution, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Rotations include:
- Otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) (six months)
- Surgical intensive care unit (one month)
- Ophthalmology/oculoplastics (one month)
- Neurosurgery (one month)
- Anesthesia (one month)
- Pediatric surgery (one month)
- General surgery (one month)
PGY-2 to PGY-5
Years two through five involve a strong surgical training experience across the spectrum of the specialty, with an emphasis on balanced exposure.
Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Children’s Hospital are the focal points of the clinical experience. These freestanding facilities are connected to Penn State Cancer Institute as well as the primary outpatient clinic setting. An on-campus ambulatory surgery center, along with a private community SurgiCenter, provide another setting for surgical experience-building.
Two educational tracks are currently available within the program:
- The clinical track involves five years of clinical training, with an ongoing expectation of academic productivity (e.g., research and publications), including the PGY-3 dedicated research block for three months.
- The research track fosters an interest in academic and surgeon-scientist careers. The residents in this track spend the initial year after selection in research activities, primarily through Penn State Institute of Personalized Medicine and the Genome Sciencies Facility. See more about the research track elsewhere on this page.
Research can provide excellent resident educational opportunities. All residents in both the clinical and research tracks are required to participate in structured research activities, with at least one long-term project.
- Residents have three months of dedicated research time during PGY-3.
- Submission for publication of the project in a peer-reviewed journal is required.
- Annually, each resident must identify a project and submit an abstract to the Pennsylvania Academy of Otolaryngology.
Most residents participate in research beyond these requirements.
Division-sponsored academic courses offer outside educational opportunities. The course opportunities include a basic science course, airway foreign body courses, the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) Basic Course, junior and senior resident simulation courses and other courses as they become available.
Residents are encouraged to attend professional meetings annually. Experience and education are maximized if the resident presents a paper at these meetings. If an oral research presentation is to be delivered by the resident, reasonable travel expenses will be covered by the division.
Research Track Details
The research track offers in-depth exposure and experience in basic, translational and clinical research in the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck and thyroid malignancies, as well as other related conditions usually seen by an otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon). The training program lasts one year and takes place prior to entrance into PGY-1 of the Otolaryngology Residency. The second year then begins the traditional five-year clinical track.
The research track trains a new generation of researchers and leaders who will eventually assume leadership roles and further the development of otolaryngology specialties.
In particular, the program expands the training experience so that residents not only become proficient as clinicians and consultants, but also become well-versed in the emerging genomic tools of personalized medicine.
Penn State College of Medicine and the sponsoring departments for the research track provide exceptional clinical and scientific resources and a rich environment for the training of specialists in otolaryngology (head and neck surgery).
All aspects of the research track are carefully monitored and evaluated. A cornerstone of the evaluation process is faculty feedback in face-to-face meetings at the end of each quarter. These meetings are scheduled by the program coordinator to be certain that they occur. Semi-annual and annual meetings as well as final (summative) evaluations are held with the program director, where all evaluation methods are reviewed.
Residents will be given an adviser at the time they enter the program to help navigate their initial few months and to assist in networking for the choice of a research. Once a resident has a mentor and a research project, they must assemble a Research Advisory Committee to oversee the work and monitor progress. The Advisory Committee also advises the mentor and mentee as well as program leadership.
Each year, residents formally present their research at a Research Exchange to a panel of faculty and their peers and receive a composite evaluation for the quality of the work, presentation skills, etc.
The research track resident will be assigned individual desk and research bench space and resources throughout their year of training. These are located in the Institute of Personalized Medicine in the Biomedical Research Building at Penn State College of Medicine.
The institute encompasses 5,000 square feet of laboratory space, equipped with all the instrumentation necessary for state-of-the-art genomic studies. Residents will have access to all of these instruments and are expected to become well-versed in the preparation of libraries and execution of next-generation sequencing protocols.
Research track residents will have extensive exposure to and training in genomic medicine with access to formal coursework in analysis of large genomic data sets.
One such course, Applied Bioinformatics, is designed to introduce students to the various applications of high-throughput sequencing including chip req, RNA-Seq, SNP calling, metagenomics, de novo assembly and others. The course material concentrates on presenting complete data-analysis scenarios for each of these domains of applications and introduces students to a wide variety of existing tools and techniques.
In addition, the program runs informal training sessions in various aspects of genomic analysis under the tutelage of members of the bioinformatics staff – a group of PhD-level bioinformaticists and their affiliated graduate students, postdocs and staff.
Residents will also be exposed regularly to ongoing research within the Institute of Personalized Medicine. Institute members have two regularly scheduled hour-long meetings each week, one devoted to formal updates on each of the two dozen or so collaborative projects ongoing in the institute and one devoted to technical aspects of genomic analysis.
The institute also hosts a biweekly NextGen Sequencing meeting, in which investigators share tips, insights and internal and external advances in sequencing techniques. It also hosts a biweekly IPM Science meeting, at which clinicians from across the medical center describe clinical settings and diseases in which genomics might play a role.
Beyond attending the institute-sponsored sessions, residents will be expected to participate in a weekly scientific group meeting with their research mentor. Many research mentors have weekly group meetings in which the members of the group present their research progress and explore recently published topics related to their research.
Administrators for the research track include:
Fellow Honors and Recognitions
Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center accept ongoing nominations for the Exceptional Moments in Teaching award.
The award, given monthly by the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment, accepts nominations from College of Medicine students who are invited to submit narratives about faculty members, residents, fellows, nurses or any other educators who challenge them and provide an exceptional learning experience. See more about the award here.
Previous nominees from the Otolaryngology Residency are listed here. Click the + next to a nominee name to read their nominator’s comments.
The annual Resident/Fellow Research Day is held each summer on and around the Penn State Health Milton S. Medical Center campus in Hershey, PA.
The intent of the event is to provide an opportunity for residents and fellows to showcase their research accomplishments to their peers in other clinical departments, as well as their colleagues in the basic sciences.
Previous presentations from the Otolaryngology Residency are listed here.