ENT department chair named to prestigious national leadership post

Dr-Rocco-ENT-department-chair-named-to-prestigious-national-leadership-postThe American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) Foundation has elected James Rocco, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, to a three-year term as president. Dr. Rocco previously chaired the research committee for the AHNS, the premier academic society for head and neck surgeons.

“This is an exciting time to lead this foundation,” Dr. Rocco says. “My predecessor did a great job, and it is an honor to step in after him and be given responsibility to grow our efforts even further.” The AHNS Foundation creates research and educational opportunities such as young investigator awards, translational science grants and other funding to start new research projects. Revenue comes to the foundation through corporate sponsorships and membership dues, and interest made on the corpus of the trust supports outbound funds from the foundation. Currently, the foundation supports more than $180,000 annually for grants and educational activities.

“Right now, the foundation has more opportunities than funds to support them,” Dr. Rocco says. “We are actively working to expand the foundation’s ability to fund these research and education efforts and recreate an equilibrium between great ideas and funding for them.”

These initiatives include working with businesses for corporate sponsorships, planning initiatives for donation commitments from society members, growing income opportunities from annual meetings and exploring other revenue-generating activities like starting a head-and-neck-specific journal.

“We have a sense of urgency and need to maintain the exciting momentum we have had in recent years,” Dr. Rocco says. “Many of the grant awards we historically gave out hadn’t been increased since I was a resident, but we recently doubled the size of all the grants we distribute. We are starting to see the positive impacts of that change.”

Over the last three years, there has been massive growth within the AHNS as the society adjusted its structure to bring in newly formed divisions and sections to increase participation and offer new opportunities for AHNS members to contribute.

“As one of the largest and leading training programs in head and neck surgery, it is important for our colleagues at Ohio State to be involved with the AHNS because this is how we communicate with peers from across the country and around the world, exchanging clinical information, standards of care and academic opportunities,” Dr. Rocco says. “For younger colleagues, the grants from the AHNS foundation are often a young researcher’s first exposure to the core review process for grants and is an important first step in setting them up for success in grant writing for NIH grants in the future.”