SAN DIEGO—Otolaryngologists and other healthcare professionals gathered April 28–29, 2017, in San Diego for the 120th Annual Meeting of the Triological Society, held in conjunction with the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings (COSM), catching up with colleagues from around the globe, sharing their research, and discussing pressing topics in the field.
The meeting included more than 50 presentations from the podium and nearly 150 poster presentations, as well as several lively panel discussions. At least 2,646 professionals registered for COSM, including 1,361 physicians. Of those, some 396 were Triological Society members.
In the Triological Society presidential address, Charles Beatty, MD, underscored how important a positive attitude is for professional success, and specifically for medicine. “It’s been my observation that the most common and, perhaps, essential character traits of successful colleagues and leaders is a positive, can-do attitude. I suspect that most of the individuals you admire in your lives and careers have also been positive, upbeat, glass-at-least-half-full people,” he said. “When these people are asked to take on a new task, see an additional patient, face a new challenge, they almost always just say ‘yes.’”
- He also shared several points about positivity from his own life and career:
His parents nurtured a positive culture growing up, he said. He doesn’t remember ever being asked in dinner table conversation whether he or his siblings would go to college; it was assumed they all would.
- Dr. Beatty was asked to be a program director at a time when he thought he might be unprepared for the job, but he took the job anyway. “This ultimately led to getting involved in the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and becoming associate dean of surgery and surgical specialties for 10 years. Not exactly the route or the destination that I had anticipated, but sometimes it pays to just say ‘yes.’”
- He pointed to Frances Kinne, PhD, a family friend and Chancellor Emeritus of Jacksonville University in Florida, who is about to turn 100, as an example of this can-do outlook. When the two of them speak, Dr. Beatty said, “Inevitably, she’ll turn the conversation around and ask, ‘What wonderful things have you or the boys or [his wife] Ann accomplished? Is Ann the mayor of Rochester yet?’ Dr. Kinne is one of the most humble but enthusiastic people who encourage others to pursue the highest achievements.”
- He hopes that prospective members of the Triological Society have this outlook when considering membership. He reminded the audience that the society awarded $600,000 over the past year on career development and career scientist grants, and travel grants and other awards for students, residents, and junior staff. The society offers an open forum for the exchange of ideas and teaching.
- “My one admonition to you is just say ‘yes’ when asked to participate or join the Triological Society,” he said. “Too often, we hear from the pessimists and the cynics. We hear about complaining, condemning and criticizing. But most successful people recognize life is what you make of it.”
Thomas R. Collins is a freelance medical writer based in Florida.