Growing up, one of my favorite year-end joys was listening to the Top 100 songs of the year on the radio. These were the days when we all listened to FM on long drives to relatives’ houses or New Year’s parties and the radio stations were filled with seemingly endless countdowns to the No. 1 song of the year. Hearing the summer songs would bring back memories of beach vacations, and there was always a song or two that we didn’t realize were so popular or influential. As we reflect on 2018 (and as I listen to Internet radio in my office, I thought it would be nice to have our own countdown, ENTtoday style.
We started this year introducing the new editorial board and vision for the journal: Inform, entertain, and amuse. Our goal was to continue the things people love about ENTtoday: Richard Holt’s ethics articles, summaries of recent literature, and Trio Best Practice features, to name a few. We also wanted to make the publication more timely and fun to read and, hopefully, to leave readers with something to think about.
We started the year considering the controversy over MOC. Boy, it seemed like a big deal back then, as stories abounded over internal medicine arguments around the infrastructure and validity of MOC. But, thanks to the leadership of the ABOHNS, our specialty has had a smooth ride as new procedures are implemented in response to the changing demands of our constituents and practitioners.
We talked a lot this year about mentorship, sponsorship, and building a professional network. Physician burnout became the “it” topic for 2018, and we covered it extensively. Our new recurring column on physician wellness that is being led by Julie Wei and Jennifer Villwock will continue in 2019. I think we all agree on the diagnosis, and awareness is widespread. Now, what are the next steps to ensure our wellness? I’m sure we will hear some great ideas in the upcoming year.
In the spring, we highlighted the fantastic scientific presentations at the Triological Society Combined Sections meeting and COSM. One of the highlights of the year for me was Dana Thompson’s inspirational talk at COSM on bias and diversity in otolaryngology. Implicit and explicit bias abound within academic medicine and have a definite presence in otolaryngology. It is an uncomfortable topic to write and talk about, but it is so important to address if we are to become a model specialty and profession. We talked about #MeToo in otolaryngology and, in 2019, we will shine a brighter spotlight on gender, racial, and thought inequities in academic medicine.
On the fun side, we began a regular column highlighting the really neat things otolaryngologists do in their free time. Titled “Surgeons After 7” (for our experienced colleagues who have moved on to second careers or have fun hobbies) and “Surgeons Before 7” (for our residents who did cool things before they became busy, not-so-cool residents), these features have become some of our most popular and downloaded articles.
Not everything we published was timely or effective. The “Crisis in Otolaryngology Match” may have missed its mark, as 2018 has seen a massive rebound in applicant numbers that are matching the 2015–2016 peak stats. Hopefully, the numbers keep trending in the positive direction. All in all, I think the year was a success for the journal and, like the radio countdown, the year was filled with hits.
As this is my last column for the year, I would be remiss to not mention the team that has worked so hard this year to make this all happen. Thank you to our wonderful editorial board, the Triological Society and publishing consultant Kathey Alexander, my deputy editors Ron Kuppersmith and Mike Johns, and to Wiley and my editorial partner in crime Samara Kuehne for the countless hours that have been donated to this publication. I also want to give a shout out to my department at KU, many of whom (Dana Reinert, Jen Villwock) have been instrumental in editing and serving as a sounding board to my often “outside the box” ideas. Thank you to my colleagues and friends (Jon Lara, T.J. Gernon, and many others) who are avid readers and offer wonderful suggestions for stories, and to my wife and kids who put up with me investing time and energy in this passion project.
Finally, and most importantly, cheers to you. These stories are all about the otolaryngology community, and you are fascinating, brilliant, and generous. Happy Holidays to you and your family!