Medical College of Georgia Department of Otolaryngology History


Since the establishment of the Medical College of Georgia in 1828, the institution had not had an organized division of Otolaryngology.

This was to change on November 20, 1973 when Dr. Edward Porubsky was contacted by the then Chairman of the Department of Surgery, Dr. Arlie R. Mansberger. Following a meeting the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and interviews the Friday after Thanksgiving, Dr. Porubsky and Dr. Mansberger met on November 26, 1973 and agreed on the establishment of a Section of Otolaryngology.

On July 1, 1974 the Section of Otolaryngology was officially established. Dr. Porubsky was appointed Associate Professor and Section Chief. For the first two years, we had the opportunity to work with General Surgery residents since the board required two years of case numbers before granting provisional approval. The residency program was granted provisional approval July 1, 1976. At that time, we accepted our first resident, Dr. Bill Welch. Since that time, 47 residents have successfully completed the program and 45 have received certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology. The remaining two will begin the certification process this September. Twenty-five residents have remained in Georgia while the remaining twenty-two have located in the following diverse geographical areas:

Texas - 3, New York - 2, Washington State - 1, South Carolina - 1, North Carolina - 3, Massachusetts - 1, Alabama - 3, Tennessee - 1, Oklahoma - 1, New Jersey - 1, Florida - 2, Colorado - 1 and Louisiana - 2. Ten residents pursued additional training with three completing fellowships in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, three in Pediatric Otolaryngology, three in Neurotology and one in Rhinology- Sinus Surgery.

Over the years, the Section has been fortunate to have a faculty whose main purpose was resident education. Dean Elliott, M.D. joined the faculty in July of 1978 and was attending physician at the VAMC until his unfortunate and untimely death in 1992. He served as role model, an outstanding physician and was responsible for the establishment of the Temporal Bone Lab. The Dean C. Elliott, M.D. state-of-the-art Temporal Bone Lab serves as his memorial. Doug Harmon, M.D. joined the faculty in 1981 and remained in that position until 1988. His major contribution was in the area of surgery for sleep apnea. Dr. Newton Coker joined the faculty in 1981. After completing a fellowship in Neurotology he became the first neurotologist at MCG. He then joined the faculty at Baylor University School of Medicine where he continues to pursue an outstanding career. He co-authored the Atlas of Otologic Surgery which has received international acclaim. Stan Erwin, M.D. was a member of the faculty from 1984 until 1990 and had a major impact in the area of general Otolaryngology and head and neck surgery. Dr. Fred Kuhn joined the faculty in 1991. He remained on the faculty until 1996 and established state-of-the-art sinus surgery and provided seven sinus courses in that time frame. Dr. Fred Klippert joined the faculty in 1991 and has made major contributions in head and neck surgery and has directed the resident selection process. He currently serves as Chief at the VAMC. In 1996 John Bent, M.D., following a pediatric fellowship at the University of Iowa, joined the faculty and remained as Chief of Pediatrics until 1998. With the opening of the Children's Medical Center, Dr. Bent established Pediatric Otolaryngology as a subspecialty and also established the Sinus Lab. Dr. Alan Johnson joined the faculty in 1997 to re-establish Neurotology. He is the Director of the Temporal Bone course and has established the cochlear implantation program at the Medical College. Dr. Mitch Austin joined the faculty in 1999 and serves as Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology. He also directs the Sinus Lab. In 2000, Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker joined the faculty following a fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. She departed in 2002 and is currently practicing in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Christine Gourin also joined the faculty in 2000 following a fellowship in Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Gourin heads our multi-disciplinary Head and Neck Tumor Board and has a variety of clinical research interests.

In 2003, we added two world-class faculty members to the department. Dr. Achih Chen joined the faculty following his fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Laskey Clinic in Beverly Hills, CA. His energetic, entrepreneurial spirit enabled the department to pursue opportunities in cosmetic facial plastic surgery off of the MCG campus. He maintains a robust reconstructive practice at the medical center and a state-of-the-art cosmetic practice in Evans, Georgia. Dr. Stil Kountakis joined the faculty as Professor and Vice-chair of the Department of Otolaryngology and as the Director of Rhinology/ Sinus Surgery. In the short time that he has been here he has established the Georgia Sinus Center, published extensively and directed a number of nationally recognized CME courses on sinus surgery and sinus disease. He also established a much sought after fellowship in Rhinology/ Sinus Surgery.

In 2005 Dr. Greg Postma joined the faculty and created the Center for Voice and Swallowing Disorders. Dr. Postma holds the rank of Professor and is a pioneer in the area of in-office surgery, including transnasal esophagoscopy and non-sedated laryngeal and airway laser surgery, and has authored or co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and 50 chapters and invited articles. Prior to joining the faculty, he spent 9 years at Wake Forest. He was recently joined by Laryngologist Dr. Paul Weinberger, who specializes in translational Otolaryngology research and the treatment of airway stenosis.

Dr. Porubsky retired on June 30, 2001, but remains on the clinical faculty. Dr. Mitch Austin served as interim Section Chief while a search committee was formed to recruit Dr. Porubsky's replacement. The previously undesignated Chair in Otolaryngology was named the Edward S. Porubsky Chair. Dr. David Terris, who had been on the faculty of Stanford University, Section of Otolaryngology, accepted the position. As part of the agreement, the Section of Otolaryngology attained Departmental status. On September 1, 2002 Dr. David Terris became the Edward S. Porubsky Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology, Medical College of Georgia.

Over the years we have had outstanding administrative support from Jason Turner, Donna Black, Rachel Cawley, Ellie Pryor, Tanya Roberson, Quaran Green. In addition to the faculty mentioned above, several residents have stayed on as faculty members. Valuable contributions have also been made by other faculty including John Isaac, M.D., Sanjay Bhansali, M.D., Mark Williams, M.D., and Bruce Fetterman, M.D.