The Next 19 Years of the American Head and Neck Society
Jeffrey N. Myers, MD, PhD, president of the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) for 2016 to 2017, offered his perspectives on the AHNS’s history, present-day activities, and future plans at this year’s annual meeting of the society. The society was created from the 1998 merger of 2 societies, the Society for Head and Neck Surgeons (SHNS), founded in 1954, and the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery (ASHNS), founded in 1959, to become the largest organization in North America for the advancement of research and education in head and neck oncology. At a recent AHNS leadership retreat, a clear mission statement and core values were codified: the mission of the AHNS is to advance education, research, and the quality of care for head and neck oncology patients, and the core values are patient-centric, ethical, collaborative, innovative, value-based, and global. The educational mission of the society includes its annual meeting held at the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings, and an International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer and hands-on instructional courses in head and neck ultrasonography and transoral robotic surgery. There are also web-based educational opportunities, including surgical videos and a journal club, as well as the oversight of the training of Fellows in Oncologic Head and Neck Surgery through the Advanced Training Council (ATC). The ATC conducts site visits to evaluate each training program every 5 years and is currently focused on developing core curricula for our training programs. Research is another mission critical activity of the AHNS. Each year, the research committee reviews applications from established researchers and trainees for several grants totaling more than $80 000 annually. Prior to this year, the money to support these awards has come from general operating funds from the AHNS annual budget. However, the Research and Education Foundation of the AHNS recently completed one of its major goals of raising $3 million. The interest on this corpus will now provide enough money to make these awards every year in perpetuity, thereby freeing up the AHNS’s general operating funds to support other mission critical activities. Given these significant advances in education, research, and fundraising, the AHNS is in “great health” and has a tremendous future in the hands of a talented and diverse group of current and emerging leaders.