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Department of Otolaryngology

Residency Experience Summary

The Department of Otolaryngology offers a fully accredited residency program that provides education and experience in surgery, inpatient and outpatient clinical care, basic sciences and research as they relate to diseases of the head and neck.  The practice of otolaryngology- head and neck surgery is an exciting one, as it involves aspects of medicine, pediatrics, neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, and surgery.  It is a specialty inclusive of all age groups from newborns with congenital anomalies to the very aged with profound hearing losses or head and neck tumors.  Many of those conditions treated by the otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon require periodic examinations with extended follow-up, so that the patient-physician relationship becomes more established.

Some practitioners in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery concentrate in specific areas, such as laryngology, neurotology, rhinology, pediatric otolaryngology, facial plastic surgery, skull base surgery, or head and neck oncology.  Others emphasize the medical or the surgical aspects of head and neck problems, including allergy, immunology, and communicative disorders.  This broad mix of patients, medical disorders, and surgical challenges makes otolaryngology an exciting and rewarding specialty.

Each resident develops skill and knowledge of all aspects of modern otolaryngology.  Practice experience in private, governmental, and municipal hospitals is blended to give the trainee a quality learning experience.  Individual supervision and teaching are provided at all levels of training.  Participation in the clinics and operating rooms is commensurate with the trainee’s level of competence and ability.  Ample clinical material is available, ensuring graduated resident responsibility.  A basic science program is strategically placed at the beginning of the trainee’s education in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.  This didactic and laboratory experience is heavily weighted in histopathology and temporal bone dissection.

High priority is given to educating medical students that rotate within the department.  Students elect to spend from two weeks to two months on the service.  Residents participate actively in a coordinated program designed to furnish the students with a basic core of knowledge and understanding of the discipline.  Outpatient clinics, ward rounds, operating room exposure, and special seminars are the foundation of their learning.

The rare combination of diverse practice settings and a single training program serving a population of more than 3 million inhabitants of Brooklyn and Staten Island makes the SUNY Downstate Residency Training Program a unique opportunity for exposure to all aspects of Otolaryngology.