At the Triological Society’s Annual Meeting in April, Robert H. Ossoff, DMD, MD, Maness Professor of Laryngology and Voice and assistant vice-chancellor for compliance and corporate integrity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, will assume the presidency of the society. Dr. Ossoff will be filling the role currently held by Gerald Berke, MD, chief of head and neck surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Explore this issue:April 2011
Both leaders recently spoke with ENToday about their achievements, their goals and the role of the Triological Society in this rapidly changing health care landscape.
Gerald Berke, MD
Question: What do you see as your top accomplishments during your tenure?
Answer: I don’t know that I’ve attached onto a cause or something I could hang my hat on as “Dr. Berke’s creation,” but even though my presidency is coming to a conclusion, I’m still thinking about how I want to contribute in a deeper fashion. I’d like to get more involved with helping young practitioners get started with their research goals, which is vitally important. As I’m on the advisory council for the [National Institutes of Health], I’m in somewhat of a position to help spearhead that.
Q: What are continuing issues for the society?
A: There’s a longstanding joke in the community that the society is called Triological because there are three old guys running the whole thing! That’s really a misperception.
As a professional society, our leadership is very attuned to the future and developing young investigators and investigational programs. They watch the finances like a hawk. Both the council and the executive council spend a lot of time, most of it pro bono, ensuring that the society continues to fund good research and support the education of residents and community clinicians.
Despite the fact that we’ve gone through this horrible recession and all these changes in the health care system are coming down the pike, the society is unbelievably strong, strongest it’s ever been. Last year, we gave out over a quarter million dollars in research grants. If a resident sends a paper in to any of the sectional meetings, they’ll send a travel grant to that resident to present the paper there.
—Gerald Berke, MD
Q: What are the biggest challenges?
A: One of the biggest challenges facing our society, and any society, right now is membership. Within recent years we’ve done reasonably well in maintaining new members and building the ranks, but it’s tough. I think part of that is finances. For guys in the community, it costs a lot to go to a meeting in this day and age. There are so many different ways to get CME credits that the society has to ensure that our organization and our meetings are relevant to not just academicians, but community physicians as well. It’s a balancing act.