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Dr. Noel Jabbour Assumes Role as Residency Program Director


r. Noel Jabbour has recently begun to serve as the Residency Program Director for the UPMC Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery program. Dr. Jabbour is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Minnesota and then a fellowship program in Pediatric Otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University. He returned to Pittsburgh to join the department at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2013. His clinical expertise is in the otolaryngologic care of patients with cleft palate, including otologic and airway care as well as velopharyngeal dysfunction and cleft palate repair. He is passionate about the care of children with microtia and aural atresia and serves as the director of the Congenital Ear Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. More information on his microtia practice can be found at www.MicrotiaCare.com. Dr. Jabbour completed a Master’s of Science in Medical Education at the University of Pittsburgh in 2016 and served as the Fellowship Director for Pediatric Otolaryngology since January 2016. He also was the Associate Program Director for the Residency Program since the fall of 2017. Dr. Jabbour is very interested in surgical simulation, deliberate practice, and 3D printing for case preparation. He is eager to expand the use of these modalities in the residency program. Thanks to the help of all of the faculty and residents in the department, the department had a very successful virtual residency application season, with five virtual open houses, three interview sessions, a remote ranking meeting, and the creation of a new website and

videos, which can be seen at www.PittOto.com. They are committed to recruiting and training the most qualified and diverse group of future otolaryngologists. Dr. Jabbour is very grateful for the long tradition of excellence and continued mentorship of Dr. Barry Schaitkin, who continues to be involved in the residency program administration, as the Emeritus Program Director. Dr. Schaitkin’s Noel Jabbour, MD, MS, FACS leadership of this program has had a profound and enduring impact on generations of Otolaryngology graduates. The priorities for the next four years include: dedication to deliberate practice across all resident years, development of a new simulation and deliberate practice rotation for PGY-1 year, development of resident performance dashboards, and increased specialization in the PGY5 year with lengthening of the “capstone course.” More on these priorities in a future edition…

In This Issue Dr. Noel Jabbour Assumes Role as Residency Program Director


Department Names Dr. Amanda Stapleton as Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship Director at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh 2

Faculty and Alumni News


Grant Summaries


Alumni Spotlight


Webinar Information

Back Cover

Department Names Dr. Amanda Stapleton as Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship Director at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh


r. Amanda Stapleton has recently taken over as the Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship Director at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. As the new Fellowship Director she will be in charge of recruiting and training pediatric otolaryngology fellows at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She will bring exciting new educational tools and operative experiences to the Fellowship Training Program. An early adopter of 3-D printing for studying the anatomy and pathology of pediatric patients, Dr. Stapleton has been training current Fellows and Residents using these unique educational tools. Dr. Stapleton completed two fellowship training programs; the first was in Pediatric Otolaryngology and the second was in Open and Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery. She started her practice as an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Otolaryngology in April 2015. Her specialty interest is in pediatric patients with chronic sinusitis, cystic fibrosis, and skull base tumors.

Her clinical research focuses on pediatric sinusitis, the microbiome of the sinuses, and cystic fibrosis. She also conducts translational research to study and improve patient outcomes within these disease pathologies. Dr. Stapleton is the director of the Pediatric Comprehensive Advanced Rhinology Clinic. The center focuses on patients with advanced sinonasal disease: cystic fibrosis, immunodeficiency disorders, sinonasal tumors, mucoceles, frontal sinus disease, chronic sinusitis, and nasal polyps. Dr. Stapleton will be leading a completely virtual Fellowship Application Interview process this year and has helped create an exciting new website and social medial feed for the Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology.

Amanda Stapleton, MD

Website: PittPedsOto.com Follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @PittPedsOto

2020 Department of Otolaryngology Publications Faculty in the Department of Otolaryngology published over 150 academic studies in 2020 across a variety of specialty areas, including head and neck cancer, balance, sleep, hearing loss, voice disorders, and many others. For a full list of publications by month please visit HERE.

DEPARTMENT David Eibling,



Title: Using Voogle to Search Within Patient Record Authors Augie s in the VA Corpo Turano PhD and rate Data Wareh David Eibling, MD Journal Federa ouse l Practitioner Summary A new search engine permits term-b single patient from ased queries of data stored within both structured data element stored the VA Corporate and unstructured database. This in the data wareh free text for a tool permits practit structured. Data ouse by simple ioners to find any query, eliminating is accessed from any VA, regard the need to know Link: https://www less from which complex menu .ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p VA(s) they had ubmed/31892775 received their care.

Jonas Johnson,


Title: Burden of Treatment: Reported Outco Authors: Nilsen mes in a Head ML, Mady LJ, Hodge and Neck Cance s J, WassermanJournal: Laryng r Survivorshp Clinic Wincko T, Johnso oscope n JT Summary: These data These results highlig indicate the remarkable preval ence of treatm ht the need for ent-related effect de-intensification understanding s in HNC surviv of pathophysio of therapies, where ors. logy and new appro Link: https://doi.o appropriate, and aches to mitiga for a better rg/10.1002/lary.27 ting treatment 801 effects. Title: Health Literac y: Impact on Qualit Authors: Nilsen y of Life in Head and ML, Moskovitz Neck Cancer Surviv J, Lingyun L, Harris Journal: Laryng ors on oscope C, Randazza E, Peddada SD, Johnso Summary: Inadeq n JT uate health literac y is associated with inadequate with a lower social health literacy, interventions to QOL in HNC surviv Link: https://doi.o ameliorate the ors, and among rg/10.1002/lary.28 impact on QOL those 360 are needed.

Carl Snyderman


Title: Endoscopic nasopharyngectom study of the transp y combined with a nerve-sparin terygoid appro g transpterygo ach. Authors: Geltze id approach: an iler M, Turner anatomic M, Rimmer R, Miranda J, Wang Zenonos G, Heber E t A, Snyderman Journal: Laryng C, Gardner P, Fernan oscope dezSummary: Our study examines the need to sacrifi successfully perfor ce the vidian and m en bloc endos greater palatin copic nasopharyng Link: https://doi.o e nerves in order ectomy. rg/10.1002/lary.28 to 479

Title: Endoscopic transnasal transm axillary approach Authors: Liu Q, Wang H, Zhao to the upper parap W, Song X, Sun haryngeal space Journal: Eur Arch X, Yu H, Wang and the skull base. Otorhinolaryngol D, Fernandez-M Summary: This iranda JC, Snyde study aims to presen rman CH t anatomical landm anterior transm axillary approach arks for a combi to the upper PPS ned endoscopic evaluate their and the floor of transnasal and clinical application. the middle crania Link: https://doi.o l fossa and to furthe rg/10.1007/s0040 r 5-019-05761-6


Faculty and Alumni News David Cognetti, MD (’02) was recently named Chair and Hebert Kean Professor of the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Cognetti attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine from 1998 - 2002. During that time he was introduced to the field of Otolaryngology by Drs. Eugene Myers and Jonas Johnson, who remain his mentors and role models to this day. He completed his residency at Thomas Jefferson University.  Dr. Cognetti returned to the University of Pittsburgh and completed a fellowship in Advanced Oncologic Head and Neck Surgery at UPMC in 2008 under the direction of Dr. Robert Ferris.   “The Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery there has not only provided the foundation for my career, but it has also repeatedly provided support and opportunities for advancement through its vast alumni network.  I am proud and grateful to be an alumnus of this wonderful department!”

In September 2020 Craig Buchman, MD was elected as President-elect of the American Neurotology Society and will begin his term in the Spring of 2021. “I am incredibly humbled and honored by the election as President of the ANS for next year. As a practicing neurotologist, the ANS is one of our main societies to connect physicians and surgeons in our field together. In this roll, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to interact with many amazing people as we all try to advance the mission of the ANS.” Dr. Buchman is currently the Lindburg Professor and Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis and Otolaryngologist-in-Chief at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Before being elected president, Dr. Buchman served as past Chair of the Education Committee for the ANS. He has also served as past Chair of the Implantable Devices Committee and Chair-elect of the Hearing Committee for the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Dr. Buchman is also a founding member and past Chair of the Board for the American Cochlear Implant Alliance and is currently Chair of the William House Cochlear Implant Study Group.

David Eibling, MD was recently presented with two proclamations from the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate for his 50 years of government service. Dr. Eibling previously served 20 years in the United States Air Force and has worked in the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System for 30 years. Presenting the letters of proclamation to Dr. Eibling is Donald Koening, Director of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.


Faculty and Alumni News (continued) Mark Mandell-Brown, MD (’86) was elected as President of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery in February 2020 and helped efficiently guide the organization through the challenges of COVID-19. The Board of Trustees unanimously voted him to have a twoyear term to head the 35-year-old organization comprised of 1500 cosmetic surgeons. Dr. Mandell-Brown MD keeps busy at his AAAHC accredited surgery center in Cincinnati, Ohio.   He has been voted “ Best Plastic Surgeon” most recently in 2020 in Cincinnati, City Beat Magazine.  He is also voted “Top Doc” in plastic surgery in Cincinnati Magazine in physician polls.  Dr. Mandell-Brown is also active both as a surveyor and on the governance of AAAHC, the largest organization to accredit ambulatory surgery centers.  He was recently elected to a 3-year term on the Board of Trustees in November 2020. Dr. Mandell-Brown has a one year approved American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery fellowship in which he trains surgeons in facial and body cosmetic surgery.  He has trained 7 fellows and has served as Chairman of the Fellowship Program. Dr. Mandell-Brown has also been active in the past with MedPro Insurance serving on the Cosmetic Advisory Panel. “Training with Dr. Myers and Dr. Johnson and the other talented faculty taught me lifelong lessons. Attention to detail, surgical skills, and administrative skills were obtained through their guidance and role modeling.”

Dr. Neal Beckford was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Eye & Ear Foundation. Dr. Beckford is currently an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. After receiving his undergraduate degree in biology at Ohio State University, he attended medical school and did his surgical internship at Howard University in Washington D.C. Dr. Beckford did his residency at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He was board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 1985. Dr. Beckford was elected President of the Bluff City Medical Society for 1999-2000. He is on the Board of Trust for Opera Memphis and is on the Board of Directors for the Memphis and Shelby County Medical Society. Dr. Beckford also is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the Association of Otolaryngology Administrators and several other professional societies and organizations.


Grant Summaries Dr. Ross Williamson received a grant from the NIH to study how deep layers of the auditory cortex give rise to a massive projection system that exerts influence over multiple downstream brain areas. Here, we propose to use a battery of anatomical, optical, and viral approaches to elucidate the anatomical connectivity of these neural circuits in mouse auditory cortex, to understand what information these neural populations convey to downstream areas, and to describe how this information can be modulated by internal state. Dr. Williamson received a grant from the Brain & Behavioral Foundation to research corticostriatal contributions to auditory syfunction in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder characterized by an array of cognitive deficits, that include difficulties with multiple cognitive functions such as working memory and executive processing. Here, we will focus on auditory dysfunction, and propose to identify how auditory information sent to the striatum is modulated by known biomarkers of behavioral state, and how this information is then used to drive auditory decisions.  Dr. Williamson also received an emerging research grant from the Hearing Health Foundation to research how to characterize tinnitus-induced changes in auditory corticofugal networks. This project aims to quantify how such “phantom sound” signals are routed and broadcast across the entire brain, and to understand how these signals impact our ability to perceive sound. Identifying improper regulation of brain-wide neural circuits in this way will provide a foundation for the development of new treatments for tinnitus and other hearing disorders.

Dr. Carl Snyderman, through the Eye & Ear Foundation, received a grant from PNC Foundation and Charitable Trusts for a project on airway devices for special needs populations. The goal of this project is to develop a new generation of devices that promote the safety of the airway and reduce medical complications. The overall project consists of multiple devices that are in various stages of development. These include: (1) re-designed endotracheal tube that prevents ventilator-associated pneumomia due to aspiration, and resists migration; (2) “smart” tracheostomy tube; (3) re-designed esophageal stent; and (4) emergency surgical airway device.  Much progress has been made with the endotracheal tube project.  Prototypes are currently undergoing laboratory testing. 


Grant Summaries (continued) Dr. Cuneyt Alper received a grant from PiSA BioPharm Inc. for the preparation phase of a clinical trial to test a novel “Antimicrobial Ear Tube”. Otorrhea is a relatively common complication in children with ventilation tubes. This results in burden on the parents with additional visits for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up, as well as the cost of eardrops (typically high co-pays). This novel tube is expected to reduce the otorrhea episodes. A multi-center study protocol for the clinical trial to test this hypothesis is planned to start in the fall of 2021.

Dr. Michele Insanally received a grant from the NIH to research the significance of nominally non-responsive neural dynamics in auditory perception and behavior. The auditory system is often challenged with the task of assigning behavioral meaning to sounds: the cry of an infant immediately commands your attention, or a fire alarm signals the need for a hasty departure. How does the brain accomplish this seemingly effortless feat? This proposal will investigate how nominally non-responsive cells emerge and evolve over auditory learning to construct flexible neuronal representations in a central auditory pathway. The results from the proposed experiments will provide critical insights into improved diagnosis and treatment of hearing deficits caused by disease or injury and will inform targeted therapies for central auditory processing disorders.

Under the leadership of Managing Director Nehal Bhojak, Pittsburgh CREATES, through the University of Pittsburgh, executed a 10-year master collaboration agreement with Medtronic Inc. The agreement spans multiple projects, the first of which involves the development of a state-of-the-art visualization platform drawing on CREATES’ expertise in surgical innovation and robotics.

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Grant Summaries (continued) Dr. Thanos Tzounopoulos received a grant from UPMC Enterprises for his ongoing research to develop a pharmacological treatment for tinnitus. This grant involves preclinical development of a small molecule as a lead drug candidate for tinnitus treatment. The drug molecule must pass a series of ‘go/no go’ safety tests to ensure that it is suitable for human testing. Currently, the drug is working through the process of these tests, and initial results are promising.

Dr. Carl Snyderman and Dr. Bharath Chandrasekaran received a grant from the Eye & Ear Foundation to assess auditory function, brain plasticity and communication outcomes in children with profound sensory impairments. Sensory deprivation (deafness, blindness) can have profound and long-lasting changes in brain organization. Interventions like cochlear implants (CIs) that can partially restore auditory sensory function enhance brain plasticity and allow children to acquire spoken language. Despite nearly two decades of advances in CI technology, large individual differences in spoken language outcomes persist in children with CI. In this research, we aim to develop better presurgical assessment tools that are predictive of outcome, leverage portable neuroimaging to assess auditory plasticity, speech processing, and selective attention ability in children with CI, and leverage a dual-intervention paradigm in children with CIs that has been shown to improve selective attention ability and brain plasticity in children.

Dr. Marci Nilsen, through the Eye & Ear Foundation, received a grant from PNC Foundation and Charitable Trusts to study how cancer-associated anxiety drives cancer progression and exacerbates cancer pain. Head and neck cancer can cause severe pain, increased stress, and reduced quality of life. To improve outcomes for head and neck cancer survivors, a better understanding of biological mechanisms and risk factors associated with cancer pain are needed. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between patient-reported pain, psychological symptom burden (anxiety, depression, social support), and plasma catecholamine levels in head and neck cancer survivors.


OTO Alumni Spotlight Anna Pou, MD Class of 1996

I worked as a microbiologist prior to entering medical school after which I spent the summer following my freshman year doing clinical research in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. There I met many but worked under the guidance of Dr. Helmuth Goefert, department chair and Dr. Randy Weber who had just completed his fellowship; both had a great impact on my career decision. During this summer, I fell in love with Head and Neck oncologic surgery, the patients who were afflicted with this disease and admired those surgeons who performed life-saving operations. At that time, I decided to pursue a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. I started my Otolaryngology residency at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. During my second year of general surgery training, the department underwent major changes and fate “landed” me in a residency position in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at UPMC which forever changed my life. I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, a very different climate and culture from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and never thought that I would ultimately think that 30-degree weather was warm. My mother thereafter fondly referred me to as her daughter, the “pseudo yankee”! The “fear of the unknown” that I experienced prior to my arrival in Pittsburgh quickly dissipated when I met my co-residents, Mary Mitskavich, Jeff Myers, and Craig Buchman. I remember it as though it were yesterday. Of course, I was woefully unprepared for the cold and teased about my accent. I could have never imagined how much I would come to love

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them and can’t imagine my life without their friendship. During those years many came to my rescue: Jeff Meyers told me where to buy a proper winter coat--I didn’t own one; Mary Mitskavich taught me how to drive in snow--very frightening; Dave Shoemaker dug my car out of a snow drift when AAA refused to come-- I didn’t own a shovel; Taki Skedros and Louis Felder drove me to and from work on occasions when I couldn’t navigate the roads—I lived at the top of a hill; and Liz Buchman carried my luggage at the airport—I had never done that before! On a more serious note, I had the privilege of working with many of the great leaders and innovators in our field and was in awe of their skills and humility. All my professors were very talented, patient centric and effective teachers who demanded excellence. Their mentorship and leadership have molded the way in which I care for my patients. Many of them continued to advise me throughout my career and I am forever grateful. I also learned a great deal from my senior residents and fellows. The one person who has had the greatest impact on my life, however, is Dr. Eugene Myers. Not only is/was he a great educator but he became a second father to me. He taught me not only about Head and Neck Surgery but about life. Because of my training at UPMC I have met many head and neck surgeons nationally and around the world developing a broad network of colleagues. This has afforded me many opportunities that I would have not otherwise had. Following my residency, I completed a fellowship in Head and Neck and Microvascular Reconstruction under the direction of Dr. Ron Hamaker in Indianapolis after which I joined the faculty at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. There I spent 7 years under the mentorship of Dr. Ron Bailey and

Anna Pou, MD

served as the Director, Head and Neck Surgery. I returned home and joined the faculty of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans in 2004. During my tenure there, I served as Program Director for 7 years, Administrative Vice Chair and Director of Quality and Patient Safety. I worked with many others who trained at UPMC, namely Drs. Dan Nuss, Moi Arriaga, and Rohan Walvekar (“Pittsburgh Deep South”). Also, during my time at LSU, Hurricane Katrina made landfall and the citizens of New Orleans and the Gulf coast experienced many challenges and great loss. My upbringing and training at UPMC prepared me for the challenges and adversity that I faced. In 2018 I joined the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans where I currently work with many young, talented surgeons, the department chair being one of Jeff Myers former fellows. I continue to teach medical students and residents which is my true passion. I have used all I was taught by my mentors to do so. The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at UPMC continues

to lead our field in research, innovation, centers of excellence and education. During my career many of the residents I trained attended the skull base course in Pittsburgh which was an invaluable learning opportunity. I have been incredibly fortunate to train at UPMC and will continue to support the department as a means of

giving back to those who have given so much to me. I am particularly excited about Pittsburgh “CREATES” surgical education facility which will be instrumental in teaching medical students, residents, fellows, and surgeons locally, nationally, and globally. I look forward to being able to participate in those learning activities.

My husband, Vince, and I live in Madisonville, Louisiana across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans where we live among Louisiana wildlife. We love our Pittsburgh family and will always cherish the wonderful memories.

From Left to Right: Vince Panepinto, Anna Pou, Craig Buchman, Sean Houston, Jeffrey Myers


We Want To Hear From You!


ith the release of our new alumni newslet ter, MomENTs in Otolaryngology, we want to keep in touch with our alumni. Please share exciting personal or professional news with fellow alumni in future editions of our newsletter. Have you recently changed jobs? Got married? Published some exciting research? Welcomed a new member into your family? We want to know about it! To update your contact information or to share personal and professional news, please visit http://www.otolaryngology. pitt.edu /alumni - class - photos/ alumni-updates.

Webinar Information


ecently, the Eye & Ear Foundation, in conjunction with the Departments of Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh, launched a new bi-weekly webinar series entitled “Sight and Soundbites.” The webinars are presented by department faculty members and highlight their current research initiatives and treatment strategies. These webinars have proven to be an accessible and interactive way to stay connected with patients, donors, faculty, and alumni during the current COVID-19 shutdowns. If you would like to register to receive webinar invites, please visit www.eyeandear.org/webinars. To view past webinars, please click on the links below: •

How Far Can You Go: Brain Surgery Through the Nose

The Myopia Story: Mr. Magoo Meets Harry Potter

Robotic Surgery: Present Trends and Future Directions

Visual Impairment and Visual Rehabilitation

Exploring Novel Pathways To Provide Care To People In Need

Imaging the Eye to Diagnose and Treat Macular Disorders

Sleep and Dizziness: Are They Related?

Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy

Simulations in Tracheostomy Care

Optic Nerve Regeneration

Do you hear what I hear?

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The official registration and financial information of the Eye & Ear Foundation may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

The Eye & Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh is a nonprofit 501 (C)(3) organization. Our mission is to support the research and academic efforts of the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh. Donations to support our research initiatives can be made online at eyeandear.org or by returning the enclosed envelope. For more information on the Foundation, our research, or the articles in this newsletter, please contact Katherine Troy, Director of Operations, at katherine@eyeandear.org or 412-864-1300.

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Moments in Otolaryngology - University of Pittsburgh Winter 2021 Alumni Newsletter  

Moments in Otolaryngology - University of Pittsburgh Winter 2021 Alumni Newsletter