The Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina traces its history to Dr. Edward F. Parker, who was appointed Professor of Ophthalmology and Otology in 1911 and served as Dean of the Medical School.
In 1956, the Otolaryngology Division became an autonomous department under the direction of prominent community surgeon, Dr. Robert M. Hope, who served Otolaryngology at MUSC from 1951-1963. A clinical service was established over the years and in 1961, Dr. Richard W. Hanckel became the first full-time academic chairman. Under Dr. Hanckel’s leadership, a residency program in otolaryngology was established, and audiology and speech pathology were incorporated as sections of the Department.
In 2011 the Department celebrated 50 and 100-year anniversaries. One-hundred years previously, the Department was founded, and 2011 marked the 50th year since a fulltime academic chair was appointed.
In 1967, a renowned head and neck surgeon, Dr. F. Johnson Putney, left his appointment at Thomas Jefferson Medical College to accept a clinical professorship at MUSC. Dr. Putney was a founding member of the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery and President of both the American Laryngological Association and the American Bronchoesophagological Association.
In 1973, Dr. Warren Y. Adkins joined the Department after completing a residency in otolaryngology at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and an otology research fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Adkins’ clinical acumen and dedication to the academic endeavor quickly established him as a leader within the university and nationally. At the age of 38 Dr. Adkins was appointed chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences Disorders upon Dr. Hanckel’s retirement in 1978, a position he held until his retirement in 1998.
The Department underwent significant expansion on both research and clinical fronts under Dr. Adkins’ leadership. Jack H. Mills, Ph.D. from Syracuse was recruited to become head of the research division. Dr. Mills was a highly respected investigator who had trained at the University of Iowa and Washington University, St. Louis. The research division of the department was awarded a coveted Center Grant from the NIH in 1987 to provide ongoing support of basic research in communicative sciences. The division has consistently been ranked in the top 10 for NIH funding to the present.
The breadth of clinical activities provided by the Department increased substantially, with faculty recruited in most of the major subspecialty areas. Dr. Adkins was involved in training 50 residents during his tenure in the Department.
A New Era
An exciting new era for the Department began in 1999 with the selection of Paul R. Lambert, M.D. as the 3rd chair of the Department, which was renamed the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Lambert was recruited from the University of Virginia where he had been on faculty since 1982. Dr. Lambert is an internationally recognized otologist/neurotologist who is a leading authority in the reconstruction of congenital aural atresia. Under Dr. Lambert’s leadership, the Department experienced phenomenal growth. Faculty with expertise in head and neck oncology, rhinology/sinus surgery, laryngology, pediatric otolaryngology, neurotology, maxillofacial, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, and general otolaryngology were added. In addition, Dr. Lambert promoted multi-disciplinary centers which can manage the most complex issues including the Facial Reanimation Center, the Evelyn Trammell Institute for Voice and Swallowing Disorders, the Pediatric Airway and Aspiration Center, the Cochlear Implant Center, the Vestibular/Balance Center, the Wellin Head and Neck Cancer Center, the Cranial Facial Anomalies and Cleft Lip and Palate Center, and the MUSC Skull Base Center.
In 1999, Dr. Terry Day was recruited from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville to lead the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery. A Head & Neck Surgery fellowship commenced in 2003 and has resulted in training dozens of clinical and research fellows. In 2000, Dr. M. Boyd Gillespie was recruited from Johns Hopkins Medical Center following his fellowship there. Dr. Gillespie brought expertise in Head and Neck Oncology, Clinical Research, and Sleep Disordered Breathing. To provide world class expertise in speech and swallowing research and clinical care, Bonnie Martin Harris, PhD was recruited in 2000. She developed the Evelyn Trammell Voice and Swallowing Institute at MUSC and served as its Director. In 2001, Dr. Mark Hoy was recruited from private practice to anchor the Department’s first off-campus office. In addition to his expertise in general otolaryngology, he directs the Allergy Division. Also, in 2001, Betsy Davis, D.M.D. joined the faculty as Director of the Maxillofacial Prosthodontics Division. With fellowship training at UCLA and MD Anderson, she had worked closely for many years with the head and neck oncology division, and this appointment formalized her role within the Department. The Rhinology division was expanded with the recruitment of Dr. Rod Schlosser in 2002 following completion of a fellowship in Rhinology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Schlosser now directs the Rhinology/Sinus Surgery Division.
In 2004 the Cochlear Implant Center was organized, and recruitment of Dr. Ted Meyer that year to direct this effort has resulted in significant expansion of clinical and research efforts in treatment of severe sensorineural hearing loss. Dr. Meyer completed a fellowship in Neurotology at the University of Iowa. Jack King, PhD also joined the department in 2004 to develop a Vestibular/Balance program. In 2004, Dr. Adam Ross joined the department as Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He completed a fellowship at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center. As the head and neck clinical program expanded, the research group was growing as well. The recruitment of M. Rita Young, PhD and Deanne Lathers, PhD to lead the basic and translational head and neck oncology group further solidified this program as one of the strongest clinical and research oncology programs at the institution.
After his fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati, Dr. David White was recruited to the Pediatric Otolaryngology Division in 2005. He developed and directs the Pediatric Airway and Aspiration Center. Also, in 2005, Dr. Joshua Hornig joined the faculty as Director of Endocrine Oncologic Surgery and as head of the oncology service’s microvascular team. Dr. Hornig completed his fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery at MUSC. The busy clinical volume in head and neck microvascular and facial plastic reconstruction necessitated the addition of Dr. Judith Skoner in 2005. She has been a faculty member at Temple University after completion of a microvascular fellowship at the University of Oregon Health Sciences. In 2006, the Department was fortunate to attract Dr. Eric Lentsch from the University of Louisville, where he had established a national reputation in clinical care, translational research, and education. His head and neck oncology fellowship training was at MD Anderson Hospital.
Dr. Roy Sessions joined the faculty in 2007 to help direct the Head and Neck Oncology program at the VA Hospital. Dr. Sessions had previously served as Professor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Director of the Beth Israel Cancer Center and chair at Georgetown University.
In 2008, Dr. Chris Discolo and Dr. Krishna Patel joined the Divisions of Pediatric Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, respectively. Dr. Discolo had been a faculty member at the Cleveland Clinic after finishing his fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Patel completed her fellowship at the University of California, Davis. Also, in 2008, Shaun Nguyen, M.D. joined the faculty to direct the growing clinical research activities of the Department. He completed a Master’s degree in Public Health/Biostatistics.
In 2011, Dr. Zach M. Soler joined the Rhinology/Sinus Surgery Division, following a one year clinical fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and a one year master’s degree in Genetics at Harvard. In 2012, Dr. Barry Malin and Dr. Ashli O’Rourke joined the Department. Dr. Malin completed his fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery at MUSC and Dr. O’Rourke completed her fellowship in Laryngology at the Medical College of Georgia. Also in 2012, Dr. Robert Waters joined the faculty after transitioning from one of the first Otolaryngology practices in the Upstate, a practice he established 30 years previously.
2015 was a year of remarkable growth for the department with the addition of 6 new faculty. Dr. Clarice S. Clemmens joined the Pediatric ENT Division following her fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The Otology-Neurotology Division gained 2 members, Dr. Teddy R. McRackan and Dr. Habib G. Rizk. Dr. McRackan completed a 2-year fellowship in Otology-Neurotology at the House Ear Clinic and Dr. Rizk completed his 2-year fellowship at MUSC. Dr. Andrew T. Huang joined the Head and Neck Oncology Division after a 3-year fellowship at MD Anderson Hospital. Dr. Sam L. Oyer joined the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery after his fellowship at Johns Hopkins University and J. Rhett Tucker, DMD joined the Maxillofacial Prosthodontics Division following his fellowship at MD Anderson.
View more information on departmental research programming.