The past year has been one of the most challenging in history, but each and every one of us acquired various takeaways, whether it be in our practice, research endeavors, or educational experiences.
Our residents launched the first ever otolaryngology COVID-19 intensive care unit in March 2020 at Elmhurst Hospital Center—a Mount Sinai Health System affiliate in the New York City borough of Queens—often referred to at the time as the ‘epicenter of the epicenter of the pandemic.’ Their efforts included staffing and operating the unit, in addition to procuring personal protective equipment and consulting with physicians in Italy and China about their pandemic experiences.
Not only were emergency COVID-19 units created within our Health System, but they were also erected adjacent to select hospitals. One of those was a tent at Mount Sinai West, located in Midtown Manhattan, which was built to manage the COVID-19 patient overflow. Catherine F. Sinclair, MD, and Maura K. Cosetti, MD, tended to patients there and, in articles in this Report, reflect on lessons learned during the crescendo of the crisis in New York City.
A large focus throughout 2020 was shifting as many non-urgent/elective patients as possible to telemedicine to mitigate exposure to the virus. Speech-language pathologists at the Grabscheid Voice and Swallowing Center began assessing the efficacy of telemedicine versus in-office patient experiences through a patient reported outcomes analysis.
In conjunction with the Center, the Head and Neck Institute launched an in-depth study of post-COVID-19 laryngeal complications, such as chronic cough and tracheal stenosis. Additionally, the Division of Rhinology and Sinus Surgery is exploring the efficacy of fish oil as a treatment modality for anosmia.
On behalf of our faculty, researchers, and trainees, thank you for perusing the articles in this year’s Specialty Report.
It is with a heavy heart that I wish you a better 2021.
Eric M. Genden, MD, MHA, FACS
Professor and Chair Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery