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Message From the Chairman

Pete S. Batra, MD, chairperson, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great privilege that I start my seventh year of tenure as Chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Rush University Medical Center. The past six years have seen tremendous growth of our clinical and academic enterprise. We incorporated audiology into our practice two years ago, and this year we are integrating dermatology as a division into our clinical neighborhood. Our faculty complement includes 17 otolaryngologists, 10 audiologists, 10 dermatologists, two oral maxillofacial surgeons and four APPs, making us one of the largest ENT departments in the country. Our providers deliver outstanding clinical care at Rush University Medical Center and four regional sites, including Oak Brook, Oak Park, River North and South Loop, providing a comprehensive array of ENT, dermatology and audiology services through 13 established clinical programs.

We welcome five new faculty members during this academic year. Dr. Eli Michaelides, a nationally recognized neurotologist from Yale, joins us as an Associate Professor and Director of Outpatient Otolaryngology and Audiology. Dr. Dean Toriumi, an internationally recognized facial plastic surgeon, joins the department to further augment our clinical and research capabilities in this important arena. Dr. Peter Papagiannopoulos joins the department as an Assistant Professor and Director of Oak Brook Otolaryngology after completing his advanced rhinology fellowship at University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Michael Lee, an oral maxillofacial surgeon, joins the department as an Instructor to support our growing head and neck cancer and sleep programs after completing his training at Vanderbilt University. This summer we will welcome Dr. Mihir Bhayani as an Associate Professor and Director of the Rush Salivary Gland Program. He will also spearhead the head and neck translational science program in the Rush University Cancer Center. 

The residency program continues to thrive under the leadership of our Program Director Dr. Phil LoSavio. He is joined by Dr. Inna Husain, Associate Program Director, Dr. Samer Al-Khudari, Medical Student Clerkship Director, and Sofia Gardanova, Academic Program Manager, as this academic leadership team continues to innovate to create a top tier educational program. The residency has successfully integrated specialized educational tracks, including Clinical Research, Global Health and Patient Safety and Quality Improvement tracks, to help train the next generation of otolaryngologists. The robust didactic curriculum includes a completely revamped curriculum map and is complemented by multiple annual proctored, lab-based educational sessions and skills based simulation training for common and emergent otolaryngology patient scenarios. We are currently constructing a 12-station skull base/temporal bone dissection laboratory to further augment the training experience. This state-of-the-art lab is slated to open this summer. The department continues to hold a very successful Rush Update in Otolaryngology annually, which moved to the Mid-America Club this past fall. Next year, we will add educational offerings with a Head and Neck Oncology Update Course and citywide Facial Plastics Journal Club. 

Research remains an integral component of our tripartite mission. The department currently has 65 active prospective and retrospective IRBs. There are 11 ongoing clinical trials in partnership with industry to evaluate innovative therapeutic devices and medications in the areas of rhinology, head and neck cancer, sleep and otology. This past year, we started a department-wide precision medicine cancer initiative in collaboration with Tempus. Further, this winter we are launching a departmental effort to study microbiome alterations in ENT diseases in partnership with Allergy/Immunology. The faculty published 55 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters this past academic year, which attests to their commitment to advancing science in our specialty.

I am incredibly proud to be a part of the department and this organization. The clinical differentiation at Rush is second to none as affirmed by the recent accolades bestowed upon us. Vizient recognized Rush University Medical Center with the top ranking for delivering the highest quality care amongst the leading 93 major academic medical centers across the country. It is the seventh consecutive time that the Medical Center has been ranked in the top five, rising from fourth in 2017 to second in 2018 and now earning the top ranking in 2019. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have just designated Rush University Medical Center a five-star rating for quality and patient experience. This is the highest designation from CMS and deservingly places us in the top 7% of hospitals nationwide.

I hope you will vote for Rush University Medical Center in this year’s U.S. News & World Report survey. Thank you for your consideration, and for your part in making Rush’s ENT program among the top in the nation.


Pete S. Batra, MD, FACS
Stanton A. Friedberg, MD Chair in Otolaryngology
Professor and Chairman
Medical Director, Rush Sinus, Allergy, and Asthma Center
Co-Director, Rush Center for Skull Base and Pituitary Surgery
Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Rush University Medical Center