by Jami Lucas, AAOA CEO/Executive Director
We recently had the opportunity to write the Wikipedia page for AAOA. It makes you stop and ponder. Who is the AAOA? Who do we represent? What is our “Why” as an organization.
Your leadership pondered these same questions recently at our strategic retreat.
While I am been fortunate to serve the AAOA for over 20 years, my start with otolaryngology goes back to 1985 when I joined the AAOHNS staff as a public relations assistant. That role gave me great insight into otolaryngology. It truly is a unique surgical specialty. With the blend of medical and surgical disease management and the breadth of the specialty, otolaryngologists have more opportunity to develop a rapport with their patients and sometimes the patients’ families as referrals.
AAOA and its members are unique as well. Many of the “subspecialty” societies have a refined focus on one component of otolaryngology and membership is predominantly academic. Allergy diagnosis and management and the related inflammatory disease is a core component of otolaryngology. Most of AAOA’s members are private practice, general otolaryngologists. They tend to see it all or share it all with their partners.
So what is it that brings folks to the AAOA? Why do they join? Why do they stay?
If you looked at our “what,” you would consider the well-reputed educational programming and member advocacy.
But what if you looked at the “why”? The community sense within the AAOA is that our members believe allergy is a vital component of otolaryngology. As Dr. Platt notes in his leadership blog, “the ability to understand all facets of allergic disease has allowed me to better care for my patients in a comprehensive rhinology practice.” I do not think Dr. Platt’s view is unique. I think it is what many of the AAOA members have come to understand. To be a compleat otolaryngologist — having all necessary or desired elements or skills — one needs to incorporate the diagnosis and management of allergy and related inflammatory disease. Perhaps this is the siren song, so to speak, that draws each of you to not only join, but to be an engaged part of the AAOA community.
As we look toward AAOA’s future, we are building on this “why” to better support our community.