The Oto Observer is a biannual publication of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Please direct any questions or comments to


Chair's Note


       Dear readers,

Another year came to a close but our graduation festivities meant 
more than saying goodbyes to some and welcome to others. 
After a hiatus of two years because of the pandemic, we were 
finally able to have our Porubsky symposium reception in person, 
without masks or other restrictions. In the state of the department 
address we were proud to share that our clinic patient volumes,
the number of surgeries performed and the wRVUs produced 
were higher this year than before the pandemic and in fact, all
numbers presented were the highest in the history of our 
department. We had to deal with a major pandemic, but that did 
not slow us down. Even though several individuals got COVID, 
some more than once and a few lost family members, and my 
heart goes out to them. We stuck together, especially our nurses 
and staff in the clinic, and I thank everyone wholeheartedly. And, 
all the record numbers were delivered this fiscal year while 
treating our patients to the best of our ability and with respect. 
Our clinic staff were just rated as number one (numero uno!) in
patient experience in our health system. 

Not everything is rosy, as we struggle to maintain our staff 
numbers, as a few chose to resign, retire or move elsewhere, a 
few became traveler health care workers and a few chose to 
work solely remotely. Flexible scheduling can be good for the 
right people under the right circumstances, as long as a health
care entity maintains its in-house work force for needed health
care delivery. But as the pendulum moves, we are learning and I
am sure we will find our “sweet spot.” Until we achieve 
equilibrium, we again rely on the excellent work ethic the majority 
of health care workers possess and on our commitment to take 
care of the sick, which became gloriously evident during the 

I wish you a great summer with good health and time to enjoy it!

Stil Kountakis, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
Edward S. Porubsky, MD Distinguished Chair in Otolaryngology 

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