Approach to Education

The Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery Residency program at OHSU employs a multifaceted approach to resident education that includes a service-based focused rotation schedule, protected didactic time, various mentorship programs, access to lab-based courses, international medical trips, and a dynamic wellness program.  Take a look below for more information on these topics.  If you’re interested in learning more about our improvement processes, resident benefits, and participating sites then check out the General Program Info page. 

Residents discuss their favorite part of OHSU and how our ENT department approaches education

Year by year rotations

The Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery Residency Program follows a block schedule (insert link to rotation schedule) with an emphasis on education through direct mentorship between subspecialty specific faculty and trainees.  Our faculty are invested in and dedicated to providing the necessary supervision to keep trainees and patients safe while also challenging trainees to develop the skills necessary for autonomous practice. 

1st Year

Photo of Otolaryngology PGY 1 Residents
PGY-1 residents Jeffrey Hyzer, Michael Dougherty and Keven Ji (listed left to right)

As a first year resident your rotation schedule will be split up into 4 week blocks with half your time spent on services such as Vascular surgery, Anesthesiology, ICU, Neurosurgery, General Gurgery and Plastic Surgery.  The other half of your year will be spent on our Head and Neck Surgery Service, or Pediatric Otolaryngology service where the focus will be on getting you into the operating room with a faculty member who will help you gain confidence with the foundational surgical skills you need to succeed.  Unique to our program is a 4 week rotation where you spend 2 weeks with one of OHSU’s much admired neuroradiologist, 1 week with our department’s excellent speech language pathology team, and 1 week with our productive audiology group.  By the end of our residents first year they will be prepared to take 24 hour in-house call as well as answer all common in-patient consults that we receive.

2nd Year

Photo of Otolaryngology PGY 2 Residents
PGY-2 residents Joanna Jacobs, Vivek Pandrangi, and Kristen Kraimer (listed left to right)

Second year residents will continue to develop their technical skillset by spending 4 months on our Head & Neck Surgery service, 3 months on our Pediatric Otolaryngology Service, 4 months at the Portland VAMC, and 1 month dedicated to preparing a research plan for their 5 month research block in their third year.  Second year is also when our residents begin taking 24-hour in-house call with their third year peers and their senior residents as backup.  This is the year that our residents begin to explore their limits, learn about fatigue management, and wellness support structures.  During the day they work closely with our faculty, fellows and senior residents to better understand patient management and while on call at night they get to put those skills to practice.  This process is made easier with the support of the entire program in the form of regular wellness check-ins by the program director, coordinator, and senior residents, strict duty hour monitoring, and dedication of your faculty and senior residents to maintaining one day off a week, in addition to a post-call day after every call shift.

3rd Year

Photo of Otolaryngology PGY 3 Residents
PGY-3 residents Emily Ahadizadeh, Gabby Lilly, and Jeffrey Gu (listed left to right)

The highlight of your third year here at OHSU is the 5 months of protected dedicated bench research.  This time is protected in the sense that you will have no clinical or OR obligations and you will be removed from the call schedule.  Take a look at our research page for more information about our research rotation, the kinds of research, and research expertise that our residents have access to.  During the remaining 7 months of this year you will be introduced to our Otology, Facial Plastics, Rhinology, and Laryngology services. 

4th Year

Photo of Otolaryngology PGY 4 Residents
PGY-4 residents Brian Scott, Jennifer Wherley, and Tara Henn (listed left to right)

By the fourth year of training our residents are typically completing the majority of OR cases and begin taking back-up call for the junior residents.  Back-up call shifts are at-home call shifts that are a week in length with the call-pool consisting of the six fourth and fifth year residents.  A fourth year resident will spend 4 months at our local Kaiser facilities where they will get their own clinic and OR.  It is commonly regarded as the rotation where you will get your first taste of what private practice could look like.  Residents continue to get a feel for working in a non-academic setting by taking on the chief resident role at the Portland VAMC, fondly referred to as the “VASPA” due to the way that VA faculty have intentionally structured these rotations to allow time to truly dig into the process of being a thoughtful and prepared otolaryngologist.  For the remaining 4 months our fourth year residents spend 1-2 months on Facial plastics and 1-2 months on Rhinology getting exclusive experience with those service’s superb faculty as the only resident on service.  Residents who decide to pursue fellowship training are given flexible time off to attend as many interviews as they need, and faculty in their subspecialty of choice leverage their knowledge of the field and connections to best prepare them for this training.  We have a 100% match rate when it comes to fellowship placement.  Residents who go on to become general otolaryngology practitioners are offered the time off to take for interviews and planning, as well as the expertise of our Administrative Director who is able to help in contract negotiations.

5th Year

PGY 5 group photo
PGY-5 residents Rula Mualla, Yvette Anderson, and Andrew Baker (listed left to right)

Once our residents reach their fifth year of training they are operating with more autonomy, have their own resident-run clinic, and fully step into the leadership role that they’ve been preparing for their entire training.  They keep an eye out for the wellbeing of their junior residents and are afforded the opportunity to develop and pursue program improvements that they see a need for.  They will spend 4 months as the Head & Neck Surgery Service Chief, 4 months as the Otology Service Chief, and the remaining 4 months are divided up between Rhinology, Facial Plastics, Laryngology, and Endocrinology.   

OHSU ENT residents discuss why they chose otolaryngology as a specialty and what they like about it.

Didactics

Residents enjoy a total of four hours of protected weekly didactics in addition to rotation specific didactics.  On rotation residents regularly meet with faculty for journal clubs/education sessions, attend tumor boards, and are provided readings and discussion opportunities to prepare for important OR cases.  At the program level residents start out each week with Grand Rounds Monday mornings followed by Resident Review, a resident organized educational session.  On Tuesday evenings residents attend a faculty led educational session that is coordinated by the residents themselves to keep the content current and applicable to the season.   As the only academic medical institution covering patients in Southern Washington, Oregon, and Northern California, OHSU is well connected to the collective expertise of community practitioners many of whom regularly guest-star at Grand Rounds and Resident Review.

Courses and international trips

Our program understands the important role that simulation-based courses have in the development of our residents’ skills and knowledge.  You’ll see this play out in the form of fully funded courses that specific years are sent to, or attend here at OHSU, as well as the plethora of course offerings that our faculty hear about either through their connections at a national level, or because they play a role in organizing and leading these courses.   The list below are the courses that we provide full funding for our residents to attend. 

  • UC Davis ENT Emergencies Boot Camp (PGY-1s) 

  • OHSU Temporal Bone Lab (All Residents) 

  • Northwest Airway Course (PGY-1s, & PGY-3s) 

  • AO CMF Management of Facial Trauma (PGY-2s) 

  • UW Rhinology & Facial Plastics Course (PGY-3s) 

  • Portland Aging Face Course (All Residents) 

  • Portland Rhinoplasty Course (All Residents) 

  • OHSU Sinus Dissection Lab (PGY-2s & PGY-4s) 

Natalie Krane FACES
Dr. Natalie Krane (2015-2020) attended the FACES Peru Trip in January 2020

Our program has a close relationship with FACES Foundation which is the main international medical trip that our residents have the opportunity to attend.  During this trip a senior resident will travel to Peru with the FACES Foundation to participate in cleft palate reconstructive cases and treatment.  The FACES Foundation has accomplished developing a sustainable partnership and program within Peru.  Within OHSU there are many other international medical trips that our residents are encouraged to be a part of if they’re interested and supported with educational time off.

Mentorship

Our program knows and respects the power of mentorship in all aspects of resident education from informal programs, to formal programs, mentorship plays a key role our educational approach.  Starting on day one residents are assigned a faculty mentor taking into account interests expressed in their residency application to find the best fit.  This faculty mentor serves as our residents’ foundation when it comes to mentorship.  Starting at the end of PGY-1 residents, along with support for the resident research committee, begin to identify research labs and mentors who they will work with throughout their research rotations and beyond.   On the informal side because of our high faculty to resident ratio many residents form informal mentorship relationships as a result of day to day interactions, and 1-on-1 OR experiences.  Even within the program our residents enjoy the benefits of mentorship as a result of how we structure our rotation schedules with the PGY-4s taking on mentorship roles to the PGY-2s.  These relationships form the backbone of our community and are supported and encouraged from all levels within the department.