Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery


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Resident Wellness at MCG

Residents and their families spent a day at Steed’s Dairy Farm enjoying the activities, the nice weather and spending quality time with each other.

On July 1, 2019, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) adopted sweeping changes to its Common Program Requirements – the list of standards all residency programs must meet in order to maintain their accreditation. The vast majority of these changes occurred in Section VI, titled “The Learning and Working Environment”, which now contains anentire subsection on “Well-Being”. The ACGME astutely asserts that, “Psychological, emotional, and physical well-being are critical in the development of the competent, caring, and resilient physician and require proactive attention to life inside and outside of medicine.” To those formed in earlier models of residency training, this probably seems like unnecessary fluff. However, a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that up to 45% of residents report at least one symptom of burnout during their training1. These signs include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment.

No one wants a doctor who feels this way! It makes sense that we should work towards avoiding burnout in our residents (and often help ourselves avoid it in the process). To that end, the ACGME encourages training programs to make efforts to maximize residents’ exposure to patients and promote progressive autonomy, while minimizing non-physician obligations and administrative burdens. Of course, we all encounter these latter types of obstacles that stand in the way of our enjoyment of the practice of medicine. What’s important is that programs are evaluating the types of work being done by their residents, and hopefully their faculty, and through this analysis finding ways to ease the burnout-inducing drudgery while highlighting the fruitful aspects of our profession.

The ACGME also encourages the development of policies and programs that encourage optimal resident and faculty member well-being. To this end, our program has endeavored to create and subsidize a number of off-site activities that allow residents to get to know each other and faculty on a more personal level, spend time with their loved-ones, and generally appreciate the city they live in. Highlights from this academic year include taking in an Augusta GreenJackets minor league baseball game, a family day at Steed’s Dairy Farm, and upcoming holiday and Super Bowl parties with free babysitting. We also encourage our residents to be mindful of their own susceptibility to burnout by completing the Maslach Burnout Inventory every 6 months. Those with early signs of burnout are encouraged to talk about this with their faculty mentor, or the Program Director, to develop strategies to eliminate it quickly. All in all, people want happy, healthy physicians taking care of them, and the MCG-AU Otolaryngology Residency Program is doing our best to create them.

(Dr. Groves and family members enjoy an evening with residents at an Augusta GreenJackets game.)

1. Liselotte N. Dyrbye et al. Association of Clinical Specialty With Symptoms of Burnout and Career Choice Regret Among US Resident Physicians. JAMA, 2018 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.12615

Annual Rhinology-Skull Base Surgery Fellowship Dinner

We continued the great tradition for the MCG rhinology-skull base surgery alumni of gathering together for an evening of fun and food around the time of the American Rhinologic Society and the AAO-HNS Foundation fall meetings. This year the event took place at the Briquette restaurant in New Orleans’ French Quarter, where we were able to enjoy comradery and friendship, discussed careers and future plans and contemplated multi-institutional clinical studies. We relaxed and remembered every funny story from years past!

Pictured from left to right: Jastin Antisdel #7 (Chairman, SLU), Eyad Khabbaz #8 (Pennsylvania), Francis Ling #3 (Windsor, CN), Troy Woodard #6 (Cleveland Clinic), Stil Kountakis, Jose Gurrola #11 (UCSF), Chadi Makary #17 (current fellow, West Virginia), David Jang #10 (Duke), and Chris Ito #14 (University of Massachusetts).

Social Media Meets Otolaryngology

(Otolaryngology Holiday Party post from MCGOtolaryngology Instagram on December 19, 2019.)

The department underwent significant “modernization” recently with the establishment of a social media presence on Instagram and Facebook. It is our goal that this will reflect both the social and academic life of the department along with major CME Events. It is also our hope that this will be a way for us to keep in touch with our alumni, and vice versa over the years. If you have anything you would like to share with us, please send to gpostma@augusta.edu. Many thanks to Mike Yang (our current Laryngology fellow) as he works tirelessly as our social media manager.

(Georgia Cancer Center Unite in the Fight Walk post from MCGOtolaryngology Instagram on November 14, 2019.)