Panels of experts discussing the latest treatments, techniques, and issues in otolaryngology convened at the Triological Society Combined Sections Meeting, held January 18–21 in New Orleans. The meeting drew more than 500 physicians and 104 exhibitors, guests, and staff this year.
Albert Merati, MD, professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle and secretary/treasurer of the society’s Western Section, said that the Triological Society Combined Sections Meeting “offers opportunity to see emerging knowledge that touches across all of the subspecialties of our field. It unifies us; it kind of puts us into one room, and keeps our thoughts to the future.”
Several attendees noted that the speakers were a big draw for the meeting. “In a sea of thousands and thousands of papers that come through e-mail or to your mailbox in journals, it’s especially good as a trainee to come here and hear from the people who’ve started a lot of this,” said Neil Patel, MD, a resident at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Presidential Address: Why Trio?
Charles Beatty, MD, president of the Triological Society and an otolaryngologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., used his presidential address to remind the audience about the roots and traditions of the society, and what sets it apart from other medical associations.
“The founders of the Triological Society felt there was a need to reunify this specialty and share the scholarly advances of specialists in the areas of laryngology, rhinology, and otology,” said Dr. Beatty. The organization was also created to prevent too much fragmentation within the specialty. Edward B. Dench, MD, the first president of the Triologial Society, said, “The trend toward subspecialization is threatening to degrade the entire profession, especially in those cases where it encouraged dissatisfied generalists simply to declare themselves expert in certain disciplines.”
Dr. Beatty said it’s unknown whose idea the thesis requirement was, but it now has become one of the most critical ingredients of the society’s identity. “I think the thesis has separated the Triological Society as not another ‘pay to play’ organization. I think all of us recognize membership in any group is more meaningful when one invests themselves, their time and effort, to achieve a goal,” he added.
The society’s mission is to encourage and assist otolaryngologists–head and neck surgeons “to develop and maintain and enhance their knowledge and skills and their pursuit of improved patient care through education, research, and fellowship,” Dr. Beatty said. “Fellowship is both professional and social. This is where you develop a lot of your mentors and a lot of your colleagues and trust their advice.”
While he said that the society continues to attract the “best and brightest,” he added that “we need to do more to encourage membership among scholars and leaders in private practice.”