An Insider’s Guide to the AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience


Important details and insider info tips on attending the premier otolaryngology conference

Looking to expand your otolaryngology knowledge, network with peers and explore the latest ENT software, products and services? Attending the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO Experience in New Orleans, LA, this September may be the way to go.

As the largest ENT conference of the year, the AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience has about 5,000 attendees annually. It’s geared primarily towards physicians and academics, and a substantial proportion of the U.S.’s 11,000 fully practicing otolaryngologists may attend.

Whether you’ve never been to this otolaryngology conference or you’re a veteran attendee, we’ve got some valuable information for you on what this year’s conference offers and how you may want to make the most of it.

The Mission of the American Academy of Otolaryngology

On their website, the AAO-HNSF identifies their mission as the following: “We help our members achieve excellence and provide the best ear, nose, and throat care through professional and public education, research, and health policy advocacy.”

Meanwhile, their vision is “empowering otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to deliver the best patient care.”

The AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience is crafted specifically to fulfill these purposes, featuring educational sessions designed to help otolaryngologists improve their care, along with opportunities to share and discuss research findings. These are standard features of many ENT conferences, but because of its size, the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery is able to offer a broader magnitude of sessions.

Who Should Attend This Oto Meeting?

The conference is open to American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery members, as well as non-members. The following healthcare roles are invited to attend:

  • Practicing otolaryngologists–head and neck surgeons and their associates
  • Researchers in otolaryngology
  • Senior academic professors
  • Department chairs
  • Audiologists
  • Administrators
  • Leaders of international societies
  • Fellows-in-training
  • Residents
  • Allied health professionals

Pro tip: There can be value in bringing office staff to the conference. Evaluate whether the benefits of bringing staff outweigh the costs of them missing time in the office. You may also want to consider using this as a reward for top office performers.

How to Register and Book Your Hotel

Registration for the AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience opened on May 6, 2019. You can register on the official conference website.

Advance discount rates vary depending on your membership status. As long as you’re confident that you’ll be able to make it to the conference, you’ll may want to take advantage of any discounts by registering as soon as you can.

The AAO-HNSF website also allows you to easily book one of 21 hotels located near the convention center, book through their official portal, because otherwise you’ll be charged a $125 fee for using an unofficial registration provider.

If you’re not yet a member, you can become one by emailing, and you’ll receive a discount on your conference registration.

Pro tip: Book your hotel and flights as early as possible. Rates are often the lowest.

Otolaryngology CMEs at the AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience

This ENT conference offers ample opportunities to continue your medical education, with more than 550 sessions accredited for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Attendees can earn a maximum of 26 otolaryngology CME credits—4 from guest lectures, 4 from the scientific poster sessions and 22 from education programs.

Otolaryngology CME learning objectives for the conference include the ability to:

  • Apply knowledge of current issues affecting the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of otolaryngologic and related disorders
  • Analyze research-based information and updates affecting operative procedures, drugs and medical devices
  • Utilize improved practice management techniques to facilitate physician performance improvement
  • Apply a broader understanding of global approaches used in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery

As part of its otolaryngology CME program, the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery also offers sessions covering interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice.

Pro Tip: Make sure to complete your post-session evaluations and any other instructions provided by the AAO to receive your otolaryngology CME credits.

Topics Covered at This Oto Meeting

The AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience covers a broad array of areas, but it also aims to provide great depth into ENT subspecialty areas of interest. In fact, they provide 11 distinct specialty education tracks:

  • Business of medicine/practice management
  • Endocrine surgery
  • Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • General otolaryngology
  • Head and neck surgery
  • Laryngology/broncho-esophagology
  • Otology/neurotology
  • Patient safety and quality improvement
  • Pediatric otolaryngology
  • Rhinology/allergy
  • Sleep medicine

Within each specialty track, you’ll find many options for otolaryngology CME sessions on topics such as:

  • Avoiding complications in otologic surgery
  • Chronic cough evaluation and treatment
  • Chronic otorrhea management
  • Common craniofacial syndromes
  • Emerging role of HPV
  • Enhancing patient safety in the operating room
  • Facial trauma
  • Healthcare reform, managed care, reimbursement
  • Immunotherapy
  • Incorporating advanced practice providers into your practice
  • Indications and techniques for operative interventions for epistaxis
  • Management of the airway by the non-surgeon following head and neck surgery
  • Nasal valve problems
  • OSA surgical treatment options
  • Pediatric OSA
  • Pediatric rhinitis and sinusitis
  • Physician wellness
  • Post-operative complication management following tonsillectomy
  • Quality reporting in ENT
  • Reducing infection control in your office
  • Rehabilitation of head and neck cancer patients
  • Risk, benefits, indications of the use of PPIs
  • Using the EMR to reduce errors
  • Workup of children with SNHL

Pro tip: Plan ahead which lectures you want to attend, and have a backup if the lecture you do attend is different from what you expected. That way, you’ll always know where to be to get the most value out of the conference.

Sessions to Attend to Help Your Business Grow

As you’re planning out which sessions to attend, keep in mind that it can benefit you to learn about the business side of otolaryngology as well as the clinical side. Below are some of the top sessions designed to help you strengthen and expand your practice.

  • #What? A Social Media Primer for Otolaryngologists
    • Room 279/280, 5:00-6:00 PM on Sep 17, 2019
  • Building a Referral Network in Medicine’s Changing Times
    • Room 279/280, 7:30-8:30 AM on Sep 18, 2019
  • Otolaryngology Analytics – Dashboards Every Practice Should Have
    • Room 279/280, 8:45-9:45 AM on Sep 18, 2019
  • Everything You May Want to Know About Having an Endocrine Surgery Practice
    • Room 281, 10:00-11:00 AM on Sep 18, 2019
  • Understanding Practice Financial Reporting and Key Operating Metrics to Optimize
    • Room 393, 7:30-8:30 AM on Sep 17, 2019
  • Leadership Lessons: Strategies for Success
    • Room 278, 11:15-12:15 PM on Sep 17, 2019
  • Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids: An Opportunity for Quality Patient Care
    • Room 279/280, 1:15-2:15 PM on Sep 17, 2019
  • E&M Coding and Documentation for Proper Reimbursement
    • Room 279/280, 1:15-2:15 PM on Sep 16, 2019

Pro tip: Think about your personal and business goals before you go so you attend the lectures that can help you achieve them.

Key Speakers at the AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience

We don’t have room here to discuss every one of the hundreds of speakers who will be presenting at the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO Experience. But let’s take a moment to look at the five individuals who the AAO-HNSF chose to spotlight as this year’s guest lecturers* and what they each bring to the table.

Dana M. Thompson, MD, MS

Dr. Thompson is the division head of pediatric otolaryngology at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and professor of otolaryngology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is also the director of the Multidisciplinary Aerodigestive Program at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

She has a unique set of expertise in the surgical treatment and management of airway, voice, and swallowing disorders. Her clinical interests include:

  • Surgical management of supraglottic collapse
  • Subglottic stenosis and tracheal stenosis
  • Infant apnea
  • Oropharyngeal swallowing
  • Airway protection
  • Pediatric neurolaryngology
  • Etiologic discovery and disease outcomes
  • Science of healthcare delivery in pediatric otolaryngology
  • Healthcare disparities in pediatric otolaryngology

She has also co-authored a wealth of clinical research papers, including the following:

Rahul K. Shah, MD, MBA

As vice president and chief quality and safety officer at Children’s National Health System, Dr. Shah collaborates with medical staff in advancing the outcomes of care. He is also an associate professor of otolaryngology and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He is recognized as a leader in ENT patient safety and quality improvement. His clinical interests include:

  • Pediatric otolaryngology
  • Pediatric voice disorders
  • Resource utilization and outcomes
  • Medical errors

Clinical research studies Dr. Shah has authored includes:

Andrea Vambutas, MD

Dr. Vambutas is chair of otolaryngology at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital. She is also vice chair of academic affairs at the Department of Otolaryngology at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, medical director at the Apelian Cochlear Implant Center, and director of the Center for Hearing & Balance and Basic & Clinical Research at the New York Head & Neck Institute.

Her areas of interest as a clinician-scientist include immune responses and their effect on hearing. She has contributed to a vast array of otolaryngology research studies, including:

Professor Hisham Mehanna, PhD, BMedSc, MBChB, FRCS, FRCS(ORL-HNS)

Dr. Mehanna is chair of the Head and Neck Surgery at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences and director of the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (InHANSE). He is also a head and neck and thyroid surgeon and director of the Institute for Global Innovation and the Institute for Advanced Studies. His clinical and research interests include:

  • Recurrent head and neck cancer
  • Carotid body surgery
  • Microvascular reconstructive surgery
  • Endoscopic thyroid and parathyroid surgery
  • New interventions, therapeutic agents and biomarkers in head and neck and thyroid cancer

As head of a research team of over 20 researchers, he has co-authored many clinical research papers, including:

Baran D. Sumer, MD

Dr. Sumer is an associate professor and chief of the Division of Head and Neck Oncology in UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology, as well as director of the Head and Neck Oncology Disease Oriented Team at Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.

He specializes in head and neck cancer surgery and reconstruction, and his clinical and research interests include:

  • Robotic surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery of the head and neck
  • The development of nanoparticles and nanodevices for surgical application

Clinical research papers he’s co-authored include:

Pro tip: Set aside time to talk to speakers you’re looking forward to seeing or to clarify any subjects you may have questions about. Consider planning your questions ahead of time.

Exhibitors to Consider Visiting at This OTO Meeting

At this otolaryngology conference, the exhibit hall is known as the OTO Experience. The wide range of vendors there spans everything from electronic patient record software to snoring products, and attendees can use their meal tickets to eat lunch in the exhibit hall during the conference.

Here are some of the major vendors who will be present at the conference who you may want to visit:

  • Modernizing Medicine – booth #424
  • Stryker – booth #1633
  • Medtronic – booth #1032
  • Intersect ENT – booth #912
  • PENTAX Medical – booth #1833
  • Acclarent, Inc. – booth #1543
  • Anthony Products/Gio Pelle – booth #713
  • Grace Medical, Inc. – booth #923
  • Cook Medical – booth #1243
  • MED-EL Corporation – booth #942
  • Smith & Nephew – booth #1532
  • KARL STORZ Endoscopy America, Inc. – booth #1833
  • Interacoustics – booth #2125

Pro tip: What needs does your business have, and are there any vendors who can solve them? Consider conducting a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) to help you determine weaknesses and needs.

How to Speak at OTO Meetings

It’s too late to submit a request to speak at the AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience, but submission for the 2020 conference will open up around November and close around January. You can check out last year’s submission guidelines here, but keep in mind that they may change slightly for 2020.

As a rule, all scientific oral presentations given during the meeting must be submitted to the AAO-HNSF’s academic journal as a full-length article and become property of their organization. To complete an Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery journal submission, follow these guidelines and then submit through the AAO-HNSF’s Editorial Manager

If you miss the deadline next year, you may still be able to present if the AAO-HNSF finds that your late-breaking research has substantial clinical significance. This year, late-breaking research submission closed in mid-May. 

Pro tip: Speaking at an event is an excellent way to gain exposure for you and your practice. It can lend you credibility and authority. Think about how speaking at a conference can benefit you and weigh whether it’s worth the time and effort to do so.


The AAO-HNSF 2019 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience offers opportunities to fulfill otolaryngology CME requirements, speak with prominent otolaryngologists and vendors, and take away knowledge that can help improve your practice—both clinically and financially.

Now that you have a better idea of what to expect at the conference and how to register, make sure you map out a detailed plan of attack to help you get the most out of the conference. On the official conference app, you can even bookmark which presentations and vendor booths you’d like to see.

Plus, make sure to pick out some fun things to do in New Orleans during the conference, especially if you decide to bring your family.

We hope you have a great time at the 2019 meeting and gain some crucial insights that help your practice succeed!

*The Foundation’s selection of annual meeting speakers does not indicate its endorsement of products they may discuss. AAO-HNS Foundation policy requires annual meeting speakers to disclose fully all significant financial relationships with commercial corporations.

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