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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Department of Otolaryngology

Medical Student Programs and Opportunities


The Department of Otolaryngology has a strong commitment to medical student education and to exposing students to the field as early as possible during medical school. The following opportunities are available:

Introduction to Clinical Medicine: During the first year the department participates in the airway course along with the departments of emergency medicine and anesthesia. Residents and attendings also attend the anatomy lab sessions dedicated to head and neck dissection.

Career Exposure Elective (first & second year students): Students observe basic operative procedures and techniques of history and physical examination in general otolaryngology and pediatric otolaryngology. Students observe residents and attending physicians in the clinic setting and operating room. Students have the opportunity to attend departmental Grand Rounds at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, morbidity and mortality sessions, multidisciplinary tumor board conferences, and other conferences.

Third Year Clerkship Program via the Department of Surgery

 Third year students will follow the daily schedule of the residents, seeing patients with them and attending the departmental conferences. All students must attend the rotation every day for the full day unless they have prior permission from the supervising attending to be absent. They are required to read in depth about diseases or clinical problems and be prepared to discuss these with the supervising attending or resident. Each student makes a 10-minute case presentation at the completion of his/her clerkship. Students will be assessed by their supervising attendings based on their attendance, professional behavior, self-directed learning, and progress toward achieving the objectives of the rotation. It is expected that the attending will seek input into the assessment from the residents or fellows on the service.

 Core Year (MS3) Elective in Otolaryngology: Third year students complete a 2-week elective shadowing an attending in the outpatient offices and participating in operating room procedures.  They also participate in all teaching conferences in including weekly grand rounds at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Elective in Fourth Year: Fourth year students may take a 2 or 4- week elective in either general otolaryngology or pediatric otolaryngology. The experience includes participation in daily teaching rounds and work rounds with attendings and residents involved in inpatient care, participating in the operating room procedures, working in the ambulatory clinics, participating in all teaching conferences in including weekly grand rounds at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, weekly head-and-neck tumor journal club at Kings County Hospital Center and other conferences. Each 4-week student makes a 10-minute case discussion and literature review at the final grand rounds during the rotation. Guidance is provided in the preparation of this presentation.

Elective Goals

While the above electives each have different schedules and levels of responsibility, the goals and objectives remain very similar. The successful student will hopefully begin to investigate and study the following by completion of his or her elective:

  1. The specifics and nuances of the ENT History and Physical Examination.
  2. Differential diagnosis formulation in patients with problems of the head and neck region.
  3. Criteria for appropriate referral to an Otolaryngologist.


Basic understanding of the most commonly encountered problems of the head and neck region, including otitis media and otitis externa, sinusitis, adenotonsillar disease, head and neck cancer, upper airway obstruction, and hearing loss.


Otolaryngology Club: The department is working with interested students on the creation of an Otolaryngology Club for students who would like to come in contact with the field as early as possible. Opportunities will be provided for students to shadow and attending for a brief period as well as to observe in clinics whenever possible. Further details will be posted.

Research Opportunities: Students who would like to explore research opportunities, either during the summer or during the academic year, are encouraged to contact the departmental office for further information.

Reading: The department has prepared a textbook, Essentials of Otolaryngology (edited by Frank E. Lucente, MD and Gady Har-El, MD) which is now in its fifth edition. This text is oriented toward medical students and primary care practitioners. In addition to the English edition, it has been published in Italian, Spanish and Turkish.

Career Advisors:  All senior faculty members have offered to serve as faculty advisors. Students who would like to explore the field and obtain more information are invited to contact Nicole Fraser, Educational Coordinator (718-270-1638) who can set up appointments with Nira Goldstein, MD, MPH (coordinator of medical student programs) and Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, MBA  (departmental chairman).

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