“AMPAC graduates have played an important role in electing leaders at all levels who understand the issues most important to physicians,” said Robert Puchalski, MD, an otolaryngologist and AMPAC Board of Directors member. “These physicians and their spouses have volunteered on campaigns, participated in fundraising efforts, provided their expertise on health care policy issues, and attended hearings and other events.”
Explore This IssueNovember 2011
Six AMPAC graduates serve in Congress, 16 hold elected office at the state and local level and one was appointed director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. Many physicians are able to continue to practice while serving in elected office, especially at the state and local level, Dr. Puchalski said.
Another route that allows otolaryngologists to influence their field is involvement in the Building Evidence for Successful Treatments in Otolaryngology (BEST ENT) network of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS). Several efforts fall under the BEST ENT umbrella, including the Surgical Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Pilot, the Centralized Otolaryngology Research Efforts grant program, two multi-institutional research studies, and the AAO-HNS Outcomes Research and Evidence-Based Medicine, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, and Research Steering committees.
The Creating Healthcare Excellence through Education and Research (CHEER) network, funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, is another opportunity for otolaryngologists to be involved in practice-based research initiatives.
Many physicians need to be intellectually stimulated above and beyond clinical practice, and involvement in research can meet that need, said David L. Witsell, MD, MHS, CHEER principal investigator.
Dr. Witsell used tinnitus, a focus of the CHEER network, to illustrate how the program works. Otolaryngologists or otologists studying tinnitus as part of the network would most likely be engaged in an initiative aimed at clinical effectiveness research on interventions for tinnitus in the practice-based context. Participation would allow them to collaborate with peers through systematic collection of data within clinical practice and simultaneously within a smartly written research protocol. They would have conversations with peers on the latest questions about tinnitus, the most recent diagnostic criteria, and the treatments that most need evaluation.
“Once the results come out, the CHEER clinicians would get the results first.” Dr. Witsell said. “They’d get the sense of pride because the research belongs to the practitioners and the patients.”