department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery

Our History

Clinical Enterprise

The Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina traces its history to Dr. Edward F. Parker, who was appointed Professor of Ophthalmology and Otology in 1911 and served as dean of the Medical School.

In 1956, the Otolaryngology Division became an autonomous department under the direction of prominent community surgeon, Dr. Robert M. Hope, who served Otolaryngology at MUSC from 1951-1963. A clinical service was established over the years and in 1961, Dr. Richard W. Hanckel became the first full-time academic chairman. Under Dr. Hanckel’s leadership, a residency program in otolaryngology was established, and audiology and speech pathology were incorporated as sections of the Department.

In 1967, a renowned head and neck surgeon, Dr. F. Johnson Putney, left his appointment at the Thomas Jefferson Medical College to accept a clinical professorship at MUSC. Dr. Putney was a founding member of the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery and President of both the American Laryngological Association and the American Bronchoesophagological Association.

In 1973, Dr. Warren Y. Adkins joined the Department after completing a residency in otolaryngology at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and an otology research fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Adkins’ clinical acumen and dedication to the academic endeavor quickly established him as a leader within the university and nationally in his profession. At the age of 38 Dr. Adkins was appointed chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences Disorders upon Dr. Hanckel’s retirement in 1978.

The Department underwent a significant expansion on both the research and clinical fronts under the leadership of Dr. Adkins which included the following:

Dr. Adkins recruited Jack H. Mills, Ph.D. from Syracuse to become head of the research division. Dr. Mills was a highly respected investigator who had trained at the University of Iowa and Washington University, St. Louis. The research division of the department was awarded a coveted Center Grant from the NIH in 1987 to provide ongoing support of basic research in the communicative sciences. The division currently has 11 independent investigators, a multi-million dollar budget, and a large support staff.

Clinical Activity
Under Dr. Adkins, the breadth of clinical activities provided by the Department increased substantially. Dr. Adkins recruited faculty with an interest in the following sub-specialties:

  • Rhinology
  • Pediatrics
  • Voice/laryngology
  • Endocrine surgery
  • Facial plastics and reconstruction
  • Neurotology & skull base surgery

Currently, one of his original recruits, Dr. Lucinda Halstead, remains with the Department.  Dr. Halstead is the medical director of the Evelyn Trammell Center for Voice and Swallowing Disorders.

Dr. Adkins trained 50 residents during his 25 years in the Department. Competition for the residency positions within the Department increased dramatically. All residents who trained under Dr. Adkins successfully passed their board examinations.

During his tenure at MUSC, Dr. Adkins accepted prominent roles on the national level including director on the American Board of Otolaryngology, president of the Association of Academic Departments of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, and positions within the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons.

In honor of his inspiration and teaching, former residents of the Department of Otolaryngology established the Warren Y. Adkins Society in 1996. The goal of the society is to support, advise, and aid the educational endeavor of the Medical University of South Carolina in the area of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery. Referring to Dr. Adkins, a former resident said “I believe there are few people in ear, nose, and throat surgery who are regarded with quite as much affection and admiration as Dr. Adkins. He is the personification of the word gentleman.” Dr. Adkins retired in 1998 after 20 years at the Department helm.

A New Era
An exciting new era for the Department began in 1999 with the selection of Paul R. Lambert, M.D., as the new chairman of the Department, which was renamed the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Lambert was recruited from the University of Virginia where he had been on staff since 1982. Dr. Lambert is an internationally recognized otologist/neurotologist who is a leading authority in the reconstruction of congenital aural atresia. Under Dr. Lambert’s leadership, the Department has experienced phenomenal growth. Faculty with expertise in head and neck oncology, rhinology/sinus surgery, laryngology, pediatric otolaryngology, neurotology, maxillofacial, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, and general otolaryngology have all been added. In addition, Dr. Lambert has promoted multi-disciplinary centers which can manage the most complex issues including the Evelyn Trammell Institute for Voice and Swallowing Disorders, the Pediatric Airway and Aspiration Center, the Cochlear Implant Center, the Vestibular/Balance Center, and The Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation.

In 1999, Dr. Terry Day was recruited from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville to lead the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery. A Head & Neck Surgery fellowship commenced in 2003 and has resulted in training 13 clinical fellows and 7 research fellows through 2012. In 2000, Dr. M. Boyd Gillespie was recruited from Johns Hopkins Medical Center following his fellowship with Dr. Charles Cummings. Dr. Gillespie brought expertise in Head and Neck Oncology, Clinical Research, and Sleep Disordered Breathing. To provide world class expertise in speech and swallowing research and clinical care, Bonnie Martin Harris, PhD was recruited in 2000. She developed the Evelyn Trammell Voice and Swallowing Institute at MUSC, and serves as its Director. In 2001, Dr. Mark Hoy was recruited from private practice to anchor the Department’s first off-campus office. In addition to his expertise in general otolaryngology, he directs the Allergy Division. Also in 2001, Betsy Davis, DMD joined the faculty as Director of the Maxillofacial Prosthodontics Division. With fellowship training at UCLA and MD Anderson, she had worked closely for many years with the head and neck oncology division, and this appointment formalized her role within the Department. The Rhinology division was expanded with the recruitment of Dr. Rod Schlosser in 2002 following completion of a fellowship in Rhinology under the direction of Dr. David Kennedy at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Schlosser now directs the Rhinology/Sinus Surgery Division.

In 2004 the Cochlear Implant Center was organized, and recruitment of Dr. Ted Meyer to direct this effort has resulted in significant expansion of clinical and research efforts in treatment of severe sensorineural hearing loss. Dr. Meyer completed a fellowship in neurotology at the University of Iowa under the direction of Dr. Bruce Gantz. Jack King, PhD also joined the department in 2004 to develop a Vestibular/Balance program and to collaborate with Dr. Meyer in cochlear implant research. In 2004, Dr. Adam Ross joined the department as Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He completed a fellowship at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center under the direction of Dr. Ted Cook. As the head and neck clinical program expanded, the research group was growing as well. The recruitment of M. Rita Young, PhD and Deanne Lathers, PhD to lead the basic and translational head and neck oncology group further solidified this program as one of the strongest clinical and research oncology programs at the institution.

After his fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati directed by Dr. Robin Cotton, Dr. David White was recruited to the Pediatric Otolaryngology Division in 2005. He developed and directs the Pediatric Airway and Aspiration Center. Also in 2005, Dr. Joshua Hornig joined the faculty as Director of Endocrine Oncology Surgery and as head of the oncology service’s microvascular team. Dr. Hornig completed his fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery at MUSC. The busy clinical volume in head and neck microvascular and facial plastic reconstruction necessitated the addition of Dr. Judith Skoner in 2005. She had been a faculty member at Temple University after completion of a microvascular fellowship at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center directed by Dr. Mark Wax. In 2006, the Department was fortunate to attract Dr. Eric Lentsch from the University of Louisville, where he had established a national reputation in clinical care, translational research, and education. His head and neck oncology fellowship training was at MD Anderson Hospital.

In 2008, Dr. Chris Discolo and Dr. Krishna Patel joined the Divisions of Pediatric Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, respectively. Dr. Discolo had been a faculty member at the Cleveland Clinic after finishing his fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Patel completed her fellowship at the University of California, Davis. Also, in 2008, Shaun Nguyen, M.D., joined the faculty to direct the growing clinical research activities of the Department.

In 2011, Dr. Zach M. Soler joined the Rhinology/Sinus Surgery Division, following a one year clinical fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and a one year master's degree in Genetics at Harvard. 

In 2012, Dr. Barry Malin and Dr. Ashley O'Rourke joined the Department.  Dr. Malin completed his fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery at MUSC and Dr. O'Rourke completed her fellowship in Laryngology at the Medical College of Georgia. 

A new outpatient clinic building was opened in Rutledge Tower in 1998, and includes over 7,000 square feet with 14 examination rooms. New academic space was acquired in 2001, providing an additional 7,000 square feet of faculty offices, resident rooms, and library/conference room with state-of-the-art media capabilities. In 2001, the Department opened its first off-campus outpatient facility at the East Cooper Medical Center in Mount Pleasant in order to offer the excellent, Ear, Nose and Throat care to the surrounding community.  We moved to a new East Cooper multispecialty building in 2012. A second outpatient facility was opened in North Charleston in 2007. A 900 square foot Multipurpose Dissection laboratory was opened in 2003. It includes 11 custom made dissection benches, Zeiss microscopes (each with video camera and monitor), Anspach drills, Karl Storz telescopes and dissection instruments, and BrainLab Image Guided Systems.

In the 14 years since Dr. Lambert has been the chair, the Department has grown from five full-time MD faculty to 16; two additional clinical PhDs and three basic scientists have been recruited. The research faculty now total 12.  There are also 8 audiologists. In this same time period, the Department has significantly expanded its national educational efforts. In addition to the F. Johnson Putney Head and Neck Lectureship, now in its 25th year, the following conferences and workshops are held annually: the Magnolia Conference (the Department’s major otolaryngology meeting), the Literature Update Course,  the Rhinology Course, the Temporal Bone Dissection Course, the Sleep Surgery Course and the Pediatric Airway Course.

The Faculty see more than 35,000 out-patients per year and perform over 4,000 surgical procedures.  Approximately 70 -75 manuscripts - clinical and basic science - are published annually.  Since 2009 the Department has been ranked by US News and World Report (currently 27th).

View more information on departmental research programming.