Mission & Educational Philosophy

Residency Training Mission

The primary objective of the Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Residency at the University of Colorado is to provide educational opportunities covering the breadth and depth of modern clinical otolaryngology.  This allows our residents to pursue fellowship, if desired, and to become excellent board-certified clinicians. 

The University of Colorado Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Residency strives to provide an equitable educational experience for all residents, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, or political philosophy.  Our program incorporates holistic recruitment strategies, with the aim of providing culturally competent patient care, and collaborating with diversity and inclusion initiatives at local, regional, and national levels. 

Educational Philosophy

The foundation of our residency education program consists of a diverse array of clinical learning opportunities, as well as a comprehensive didactic curriculum.  Our educational emphasis is on problem-solving and self-directed study, rather than rote memorization. We actively encourage resident participation in the implementation of the educational program.

Clinical experiences are provided by more than thirty clinical faculty who comprehensively represent every subspecialty within otolaryngology.   Fellowship trained faculty in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery, Laryngology, Otology and Neurotology, Pediatric Otolaryngology, Rhinology, Sleep Medicine, and General Otolaryngology and Trauma are part of our program.  We strive for an appropriate balance of autonomy and supervision, preparing residents for independent practice after graduation, while ensuring patient safety and quality care.

Each of our 5-Year categorical residents are expected to complete a hypothesis driven research project during a four-month research rotation during their PGY3 year. In 2013 we established a T32 resident research track funded by the National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), in which residents spend two years performing basic science research between PGY2 and PGY3.  The NIDCD has changed their funding mechanism moving from the T32 mechanism to a new R25 program for resident research training. To accommodate this change, our program will transition from two years of basic science research to a one-year program. In order to comply with requirements, we will not be recruiting trainees for the T32/R25 track during the 2023 Match.  We plan to resume recruitment for the R25 program during the 2024 Match.  Our research program offers a plethora of research opportunities with nationally recognized investigators.  We strongly encourage residents to formulate their own hypotheses and develop future research interests. Formalized instruction in the scientific method, grant writing, and the publication process assist this development.

The didactic curriculum encompasses a cyclical core lecture series which covers all aspects of modern otolaryngology practice.  The year is divided into seven subspecialty blocks: Otology/Audiology, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Pediatric Otolaryngology, General Otolaryngology including Trauma and Sleep, Head and Neck Surgery, Rhinology and Laryngology/Speech Pathology.  Each block includes resident grand round presentations, core lectures by department and guest faculty, and a clinical skills lab.  Other components include, but are not limited to, journal clubs, professional development and patient safety conferences.  Per the ACGME core requirements, lectures cover embryology, anatomy, physiology, pathology and radiology.  Clinical skills labs involve drilling of the temporal bone, anatomic dissection, and simulation activities.  For additional educational opportunities, residents are encouraged to attend national, regional and local otolaryngology related meetings to present their research.

The program has a structured mentoring program for the residents at both the faculty and peer level.  Incoming residents are assigned a faculty mentor in their first year, as well as a PGY2 or PGY3.  Meetings with faculty mentors occur several times per year and are part of the department requirements for the semi-annual evaluations.  These meetings are used to create structured educational and quality improvement goals for each individual as part of our formative evaluation process.​

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