Message From the Chair

Emerging from the Pandemic

Here in San Francisco we seem to be climbing out of the depths of the SARS CoV-2 pandemic. The peak for us was the second week of January 2021. Between our vaccine rollout and the public health protections that our population takes quite seriously, we have enjoyed very low numbers of infection and have been able to ease into a more normalized daily life.

The department has enjoyed some recognition in the meantime. The most recent NIH funding rankings place us fourth in the U.S. among departments of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. Our scientists have been very successful, and congratulations are specifically due to Andrea Hasenstaub, PhD; Dylan Chan, MD, PhD; and Aaron Tward, MD, PhD, and Taha Jan, MD who all secured significant new grant funding.

Of course, our established scientists have remained active and productive as well. It is noteworthy that Christoph Schreiner, MD, PhD, has been selected as the 2022 Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO) Award of Merit winner. This career achievement landmark was awarded “for his seminal studies of central sound processing and cortical plasticity. These findings have set the basis for our understanding of the effects of hearing impairments on cortical function…” Christoph will be formally recognized for the award at the ARO 45th Annual Conference February 5-9, 2022 in San Jose, California.

We are privileged to work in the community of UCSF, where the School of Medicine was ranked second in the nation for primary care and tied for fourth in research by U.S. News & World Report. New this year is a diversity ranking, and UCSF was tied with UCLA at ninth among medical schools in the U.S. for this metric.

This fall, the department will open its Redwood City office near the main headquarters of Oracle in Redwood Shores. This state-of-the-art office will provide high level allergy/rhinology care and other new services. It is conveniently located for improved access for our Peninsula patients. The office will be staffed by general otolaryngologist and rhinologist Lauren Roland, MD and a general otolaryngologist who will join our faculty this summer, Michael Friduss, MD. Other departmental faculty members will have office hours there as well.

Lastly, I believe we will soon be able to return to in-person CME courses, with hybrid options for those choosing to meet remotely. This year’s UCSF Otolaryngology Update will be at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco from November 11-13. We also are planning our UCSF Pacific Rim Otolaryngology Update in Waikiki over Presidents Day weekend in February 2022. That meeting will feature Eric Wirtz, MD, and other Tripler Army Medical Center faculty. It will be great to see you all in person!

Andrew H. Murr, MD, FACS
Professor and Chair
UCSF Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery