Becoming a member of the Triological Society is a career milestone for U.S. otolaryngologists. That honor and achievement came full circle recently when University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery faculty were singled out during the Triological Society’s Combined Sections meeting in San Diego.
Triological Society Southern Section Vice President Fred Telischi, M.D., chair of otolaryngology and professor of neurological surgery and biomedical engineering, paid tribute to his guest of honor and mentor W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., chief medical officer of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Telischi also recognized Christine T. Dinh, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology at the Miller School, as a Triological Society Citation Awardee.
Once called the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, today’s Triological Society was founded in 1895 in New York City.
“The Triological Society is unique among the organizations that support and serve our specialty,” said Dr. Goodwin, a longtime Triological Society member. “To become a member, an otolaryngologist must prepare and submit a thesis, which is an in-depth study of an important topic affecting our patients. This common achievement adds to the camaraderie of the membership and makes the society one of our most close-knit and social experiences.”
Most academic otolaryngologists and many in private practice are members or aspire to be members of the Triological Society, according to Dr. Telischi. Many of otolaryngology’s subspecialty societies, including those for ear, nose and throat, otology, rhinology and laryngology, require that clinicians first become members of the Triological Society.
“It’s a milestone to show that you’ve accomplished something — you’ve contributed something to the field,” Dr. Telischi said.
There are four Triological Society vice presidents representing the Southern, Eastern, Western and Middle sections of the U.S.
“The vice president does organizational work for the Society’s two annual meetings and helps pick the scientific directors, as well as conducts the business meeting for that geographic section of the Society,” Dr. Telischi said, “We also have the distinct pleasure and honor to recognize four individuals — three citation awardees and one guest of honor at the winter meeting.”
Dr. Telischi chose Dr. Goodwin as his guest of honor in 2020 to recognize Dr. Goodwin’s hand in developing subspecialty care in an academic department of otolaryngology.
Dr. Goodwin began his career when otolaryngology was becoming established as the specialty with the greatest expertise in head and neck cancer, facial plastic surgery, skull base surgery, cervical endocrine surgery and other new areas, Dr. Telischi explained.
“He was one of the leaders confronted with controversy, turf issues and sometimes adversarial situations. Rather than becoming embroiled in arguments and petty rivalries, Dr. Goodwin committed himself to providing the best patient care, teaching, and contributing to the head and neck fund of knowledge through his early research,” Dr. Telischi said. “He led us successfully through that period and those issues by his own actions, always taking the high road.”
Dr. Goodwin is the reason Dr. Telischi is an otolaryngologist.
“From day one on my ENT rotation as a medical student, I saw a doctor who loves his avocation. And he wanted to instill that feeling of career satisfaction and fulfillment to those around him, especially trainees,” Dr. Telischi said in his speech about Dr. Goodwin. “When I was a chief resident, he remarked to me during a particularly interesting radical neck dissection, ‘Fred, I can’t believe they pay us to do this work.’”
Dr. Telischi was one of Dr. Goodwin’s first recruits after Dr. Goodwin returned to University of Miami in 1989 to chair the department.
“To have him recognized as the vice president of the Southern Section was special in itself, and then to have him ask me to be his guest of honor was icing on the cake! The entire experience was very special for my wife Sharon and me,” Dr. Goodwin said.
Dr. Telischi also recognized his picks for this year’s Citation Award: Derald E. Brackmann, M.D., clinical professor of otolaryngology, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine; Grayson K Rodgers, M.D., who practices otology and audiology neurotology in Birmingham, Ala.; and Dr. Dinh. Each section vice president bestows the citation award on individuals who have significantly impacted the section vice president’s career or institution or made significant contributions to the specialty.
Dr. Dinh, according to Dr. Telischi, hasn’t yet practiced long enough to join the Triological Society, but she already has made her mark as faculty at the Miller School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
“Already, Dr. Dinh has established herself as an innovative scientist in radiation effects on vestibular schwannoma, schwannoma responses to chemotherapeutic agents, malignant perineural invasion, and mitigation of toxicity using cochlea organotypic cultures,” Dr. Telischi said at the meeting. “Dr. Dinh has developed a booming neurotology practice. She organizes the resident research rotations and mentors residents for their annual research presentations. Dr. Dinh has a major role in our recently awarded NIH T32 resident research training grant. And she was instrumental in establishing our Auditory Brainstem Implant program. I rest easier knowing that the future of our subspecialty is in the hands of young academic neurotologists of her supreme excellence.”
Several Miller School faculty are involved in the Triological Society, including Michael E. Hoffer, M.D., who is a Triological Society council member, and Giovana Thomas, M.D., who is part of the society’s scientific program review committee.