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Medical Students

With its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care, the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery features:

    • A regionally renowned pediatric and adult cochlear implant program that provides complete evaluation screening, surgery and extensive rehabilitation services for patients with hearing disabilities
    • Comprehensive multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancer
    • Comprehensive surgical management of thyroid and parathyroid disease
    • State-of-the-art endoscopic sinus surgery
    • Medical and surgical treatment of balance disorders
    • Evaluation and management of tumors in the ear and temporal bone
    • Evaluation and treatment of facial nerve paralysis, treatment of acute and chronic ear infection
    • Evaluation and surgical treatment of congenital ear malformations

Attending staff supervise the students during all clinical activities. Students are allowed increasing responsibility in accordance with their level of skills and fund of knowledge and are encouraged to participate in the full spectrum of patient care encompassed within the practice of otolaryngology. The attending staff determine the degree of supervision indicated during a student participation in any given clinical situation to maintain the highest standards of patient care.

In the third year, students rotate through the otolaryngology clinics during the subspecialty portion of their surgery core clinical experience. The faculty also presents a didactic series on the principles of head and neck surgery including lectures and case presentations highlighting the major subdivisions of general and pediatric otolaryngology, endoscopic sinus surgery, otologic and neurotologic and skull base surgery, cochlear implantation in children and adults, and head and neck oncologic surgery and reconstruction.

An elective fourth-year clerkship is also offered for interested students who intend to pursue careers in otolaryngology or who wish to enter other fields but wish to develop and refine their otolaryngologic diagnostic skills. Students work in both the outpatient and inpatient setting, participating in diagnosis, treatment and management of otolaryngologic problems, and in a wide variety of surgical procedures and postoperative management. Research electives are also available.

Students rotating through the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery have a chance to be introduced to the six competencies required during future residency training:

  1. Patient care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.
  2. Medical knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical and cognate (e.g., epidemiological and social-behavioral) sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care.
  3. Practice-based learning and improvement that involves investigation and evaluation of their own patient care, appraisal and assimilation of scientific evidence, and improvements in patient care.
  4. Interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their families and other health professionals.
  5. Professionalism, as manifested through a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles and sensitivity to a diverse patient population.
  6. System-based practice, as manifested by actions that demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value.

Dorothy Wolff Fellowship in Otolaryngology Research

Although Dorothy Wolff, PhD, passed away in 1980, her legacy in otolaryngology research lives on through her contributions to the field. Dr. Wolff helped form a solid foundation for posing contemporary questions about the auditory pathway and improved methods for hearing rehabilitation.

To honor her vital legacy, the Dorothy Wolff Fellowship in Otolaryngology Research was started in 2018 with the generous support from the annual UMass Medical School Winter Ball fundraiser. This fellowship supports motivated medical students who wish to dedicate time to pursue otolaryngology research. Topics may include basic science projects, clinical research or translational work that relates to diseases and disorders of the head and neck. Applications are reviewed annually, and awards are announced in January of each year.

By supporting a new generation of clinician scientists, the Dorothy Wolff Fellowship in Otolaryngology Research will honor Dr. Wolff and celebrate her as an inspiration to women and a superb translational scientist. 

Who was Dorothy Wolff?

Born in 1895, Wolff was an inspirational anatomist, pathologist, auditory physiologist and surgical innovator who was generations ahead of her time. Though she was not well known, she worked throughout the mid-20th century in the midst of a revolution in otologic (ear) surgery, influencing well-known otologists such as Julius Lempert, MD; Phillip E. Meltzer, MD; and Richard Bellucci, MD. Wolff’s seminal work included pathologic studies of the operated human ear, which provided the anatomic basis for effective modern techniques of surgical hearing rehabilitation. Wolff also developed and refined multiple animal models of otologic pathologies that are still in use today. As an independent, innovative and ambitious scientist, Wolff succeeded in pioneering the study of the human ear to the benefit of us all.

More specifically Wolff was a dedicated and illuminating scientific figure whose work in otopathology represents a singular contribution that accelerated the development of effective, safe and modern techniques for surgical hearing rehabilitation. At the peak of her career, she ran the research laboratory at Julius Lempert’s Endaural Hospital in New York, where she helped  Lempert perfect the single-stage fenestration procedure for the treatment of otosclerosis. Over the course of her 40-year scientific career, Wolff elucidated mechanisms of osseous change within the temporal bone; she developed a novel animal model to study fixation of the stapes footplate; and she established effective otopathologic techniques to evaluate the auditory system across multiple animal models, including amphibians, birds, felines and primates. Her seminal work in otopathology was the prerequisite for subsequent developments in the field of surgical otology, specifically related to the treatment of otosclerosis. Learn more here [].


2020 – Prithwijit Roychowdhury
Project: Histopathologic Findings in the Presbycutic Middle Ear

2019 – Marc Polanik
Project: High Frequency Conductive Hearing in Patients Undergoing Middle Ear Reconstruction

2018 – Danielle Trakimas
Project: Understanding Human Otopathologic Changes that Occur Following Middle and Inner Ear Surgery