As an otolaryngologist – head and neck cancer surgeon, I am clinically trained in the critical importance of the human voice. Patients with a wide range of ailments—from throat cancer to a crushed larynx—expect otolaryngologists to preserve their voices. We approach the vocal tract with extreme caution and delicate dexterity to ensure that they are able to communicate verbally following surgery.
And as World Voice Day approaches, health care professionals come together to encourage our patients to assess their vocal health and take steps to improve voice habits.
But have you ever noticed that we sometimes fail to recognize the power of our own voices in our everyday lives? Do we find our voices when we see or hear something that is not aligned with our mission and values? Do we speak up when a member of our community is not treated kindly or equitably? Are we using our voices to advocate for our patients? Are we asking questions at the conclusion of an education session when the learning objectives are not clear?
There are times when we know there is more to be said and heard.
“The human voice is the most perfect instrument of all.”
Now, more than ever, we encourage you to speak up and be heard. Events of the past year have caused many of us to reflect on our values of diversity, inclusion and equity, and our aspirations to impact health care education and the health of communities both here and around the state, the nation and the world. I want you to know that we welcome your voices, and we stand with you in upholding the values we hold dear. Our collective voices have power, because we have the unique perspective as a state-funded public university with a broad and meaningful local and global impact. When we speak, people listen.
Social activist Maggie Kuhn once said, “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” I challenge you to be bold and to use your voice for the betterment of our organization and community. We are all experts in something, and we are stronger when you share your knowledge and ideas. As we begin to update the college’s strategic plan at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, this is a critical time for our future. The more ideas we hear, and different perspectives we consider, the greater the chances we will achieve excellence together.
Your voice matters. It’s both our goal and our responsibility to ensure that not only is your voice heard, but also that your voice speaks for the future of The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Thank you for your voice and your contributions.
Carol Bradford, MD, MS
Dean, College of Medicine
Leslie H. and Abigail S. Wexner Dean’s Chair in Medicine
Vice President for Health Sciences, Wexner Medical Center