It is my privilege to serve as the President of the New York Head and Neck Society for the 2017-2018 academic year. Since its founding in 1979, the mission of the New York Head and Neck Society has been “To stimulate and encourage the exchange and advancement of scientific knowledge relative to the management of head and neck tumors.” Over the years our society has grown from a society of mostly head and neck surgeons, into a diverse society, reflective of the multidisciplinary care needed to treat patients with head and neck cancer. The NYHNS in 2017-2018 is a more equal mix of surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists and, thanks to recent changes to our bylaws, allied health professionals as well. Multidisciplinary care of head and neck patients relies upon allied health professionals and, starting in 2016, physician assistants, LPNs and speech language pathologists caring for head and neck patients have been encouraged to become a part of our society. This overdue change has broadened our society, is molding our membership to mirror the caregiver mix head and neck patients require, and highlights the importance multidisciplinary care plays in the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer.
The society has always been a way to reconnect with old friends in an educational setting. Recently, the executive council has made efforts to increase the educational impact, especially for fellows and residents, who have been attending meetings in increasing numbers in recent years. Through the work of many members of the committee, but led by Drs. Thomas Ow and Kepal Patel, new educational grants were offered in 2016. Our first winner was Dr. Natasha Garg, a fellow in Medical Oncology and Hematology at North Well Health System who was sponsored by Dr. Steven Savona. Her research on detection of HPV 16 DNA in clinically normal oropharyngeal tissue of head and neck patients will be presented at the annual proffered papers meeting in March of 2018.
Our society has changed and grown over the past 38 years, but the focus on improving patient care through education, research and the collaborative multidisciplinary interactions of our diverse group of specialties is stronger than ever. Our meetings scheduled for the upcoming year highlight these traits and should be both highly educational and interesting. Please check the website for the latest information. On behalf of the Executive Council, we are excited to serve this society and welcome emails with any suggestions you may have for meetings or initiatives. I look forward to personally meeting with you during the events of the upcoming year, and thank all members for helping make this society such an interesting and educational one.
Bradley A. Schiff Associate Professor Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Montefiore Medical Center