Message from the chair
At Geisinger, we have a rich history dating back to the medical center opening early in 1915 to meet the needs of our community during a typhoid epidemic. Since 1936 the Department of Otolaryngology has championed best practice in our rural health mission, starting the residency program in 1954, introducing the head & neck cancer House of Care (offering housing for cancer patients who travel significant distances) and being among the first interdisciplinary tumor boards in the country. The world has changed a lot in the last 25 years, a time when Geisinger grew into a health system with 12 hospital campuses that encounters large patient volumes and advanced disease.
Our department performs over 3,500 surgery cases, sees more than 25,000 new patients and performs 30,000 audiology procedures annually in a catchment area of 3.5 million people. Unlike the typical “hub and spoke” model of a health system, we’re strengthening our network to create a contiguous health system that has one definition of best practice, easy access to care over a large geographic area and affords a seamless patient journey. This approach brings a richness to the residency program, as sub-specialty service lines throughout the system drive challenging cases to our centers of excellence. An example is that we have one head & neck cancer tumor board for the entire system, vetting all cases regardless of their location or provider and tallying patients with a living database dashboard that monitors complications and outcomes.
This is an exciting time to be with the Department of Otolaryngology at Geisinger as we embark on this transformation. Since my arrival as chair in August 2019, it was immediately apparent to me that the greatest features that sets us apart are the goodness of our people, the commitment to care for our community (a mission that has not changed since 1915) and openness to change in an environment of diversity and inclusion. As we grow our facilities, faculty and technology to redefine the future, Geisinger’s strengths in health services and quality outcomes research will define our program nationally. Together with Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, clinical student rotations in audiology, speech & language pathology, nursing and physician assistant programs, we know you would find this to be an excellent residency experience.
Kenneth W. Altman, MD, PhD
Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery/Facial Plastic Surgery