I was well on my way to becoming an otologist and had actually been accepted to a fellowship in otology with Dr. Michael Glasscock, founder of The Otology Group and now an adjunct professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University, when I got sidetracked during my last year of residency: I became fascinated with head and neck surgery. I had two mentors at the Veterans Administration hospital where I worked during that year, and they were just masterful surgeons. They let me do all sorts of procedures, and I liked it much better than ear surgery.
Q: Why did you decide not to return to Peru?
In Peru, head and neck surgery is pretty well centralized in the National Cancer Institute. In 1981, during my fellowship, I went home and talked to the two leading head and neck surgeons there. They were very gracious, but they didn’t have any positions open. They said that I could come and work with them for a few years as a resident, but by that time I had had enough of residency!
Q: How did you become involved in the Triological Society?
I have been involved with the Triological Society since my first year of residency. The chair of the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Wayne State, Dr. Robert Mathog, spoke very highly of the society and encouraged us to attend meetings. In fact, my first two published papers were presented at the Middle Section meetings and appeared in The Laryngoscope. When I was proposed for membership later on in my career and my thesis was accepted, I was delighted. I think I’ve only missed one or two meetings of the Middle Section of the Triological Society in all my years as a member.