Faculty and staff from the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (OHNS) at Harvard Medical School (HMS) celebrated the 2022 graduating class of residents from the Harvard Combined Residency Program in OHNS and the graduating fellows at Mass Eye and Ear and Boston Children’s Hospital on Friday, June 17.
Graduating residents and fellows were honored at Le Meridien Hotel Boston in Cambridge, MA, where they were joined by faculty, staff, current trainees and immediate family. The event was the program’s first fully in-person graduation ceremony since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five chief residents graduated from the program, which is led by HMS Otolaryngology Residency Director Stacey T. Gray, MD, Associate Residency Director Kevin S. Emerick, MD, Associate Residency Director Alice Z. Maxfield, MD, and Chair of OHNS Mark A. Varvares, MD, FACS. Ten fellows graduated from the program: seven clinical fellows at Mass Eye and Ear and three clinical fellows at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Emerick began the ceremony with an address to the graduating residents. He commended the Class of 2022 for staying resilient and keeping composed amid a residency overshadowed by a pandemic. Dr. Varvares shared a similar sentiment.
“They’ve shown patience, grace and humility in the face of every challenge and, in turn, they’ve provided the highest level of patient care possible and seized almost every research opportunity available,” Dr. Varvares said. “Together, they’ve left their own indelible mark on a training program that is more than 150 years in the making.”
Kofi Boahene, MD, Professor of OHNS and Dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, delivered this year’s Joseph B. Nadol, Jr., MD, Graduation Lectureship. Dr. Boahene, who also serves as the Director of the Division of Facial Plastics and Reconstruction Surgery and the Director of the Facial Plastics Fellowship Training Program at Johns Hopkins, was introduced by Jeremy D. Richmon, MD, who worked with Dr. Boahene for eight years at Johns Hopkins prior to joining the faculty at HMS.
“Our graduating trainees will remember Dr. Boahene for the rest of their years,” said Dr. Richmon, Assistant Professor of OHNS. “He’s someone who I’ve never heard say, ‘I can’t,’ or, ‘I don’t have time.’ It has always been, ‘I will try, and we will do it together.’”
In his speech, Dr. Boahene explained how the inequities he witnessed on his journey from his home in Ghana to Germany, to the Soviet Union and, ultimately, to the United States emboldened his commitment to making healthcare a basic human right. He asked each graduating trainee to remember that the skills and talents they’ve learned are never lost, that everyone deserves to benefit from their skills and that true growth will occur when they choose to do something bigger than themselves.
“However far the stream flows, the river never loses its source,” said Dr. Boahene, reciting a West African proverb. “So, keep flowing, and keep pushing the needle wherever your life takes you.”
At the end of the graduation ceremony, chief resident Suresh Mohan, MD, was awarded the Chief Resident Teaching Award, and Yohan Song, MD, a neurotology fellow at Mass Eye and Ear, was awarded the Fellow Teaching Award. David A. Shaye, MD, MPH, FACS, assistant professor of OHNS, received the William Montgomery Faculty Teaching Award, and Jordana Harrison, senior manager of OHNS Education at Mass Eye and Ear, was presented the Harvard Otolaryngology Resident Well-Being Award.
The winners of the annual Residents Poster Session Awards were also announced. Phoebe K. Yu, MD, MPH, a seven-year research track resident, won first prize for her poster entitled, “Upper Airway Stimulation for Adolescents with Down Syndrome and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.” Elliana DeVore, MD, a PGY-3 resident, won second prize for her poster entitled, “Improving Measurement Efficiency of Voice-Specific Quality of Life with Item Response Theory.”
Prior to graduation, residents met in the Meltzer Auditorium at Mass Eye and Ear on Thursday to present their Chief Resident Research Talks. Talk topics ranged from the application of smart phones and computers for improving care to better understanding the response and regeneration of facial nerves. Dr. Mohan was awarded the Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, PhD, Research Award for his talk on “Characterizing the Schwann Cell Response to Facial Nerve Injury With Single-Cell RNA Sequencing.”