In addition to excellent clinical training, the Department of Otolaryngology at UIC believes a basic understanding of research methodology is critical in becoming a successful surgeon. Whether one has a desire to enter academic medicine or join a private practice, a good clinician needs to stay up to date of current literature. To have knowledge of basic study design, clinical epidemiology and statistics allows a clinician the ability to critically analyze literature, know whether to adopt a new treatment, change a practice pattern or ignore a trendy study.

Just like teaching you to perform a surgical procedure, our job is to teach you both basic research skills and develop the ability to critically assess literature. Residents are required to participate in research activities throughout the five years of their residency program. The research block entails 3 months that fall within the PGY 3 year.



The residents will be involved in a structured and guided process encouraging them to develop autonomy and independence in executing research in a proper and meaningful way.
The processes and expectations are as follows:

  • All residents attend the required quarterly research lectures by the Director of Research.
    These lectures provide a basic overview of research skills including study design, statistics, writing and data management, etc
  • All residents attend quarterly journal club. The goal of the journal club is to apply knowledge obtained from structured research lectures to the evaluation of selected peer reviewed articles.
    Faculty or residents may submit articles for review. The Director of Research may select one or two articles in conjunction with faculty.
    All residents are required to read and review the articles on their own using a structured guide.
    The PGY-3 on research block will be required to lead the journal club discussion.
    The Director of Research and faculty responsible for the article selection will meet with the PGY-3 to critically review the article(s) using a structured format prior to presentation


  • Interns – The goal of this first year is to begin to develop a project that will be the basis for writing an American Academy of Otolaryngology CORE grant.
    Interns will meet with the Director of Research in January of intern year and begin to learn the structure of a grant; over the next 6 months, interns will write components of their own grant
  • PGY-2 – The first half of the PGY-2 year is used to focus on the finalizing and completing their CORE grant; grants are due in January.
    The remainder of the PGY-2 year focuses on finding additional projects to become involved.
    The resident who will begin the first PGY-3 research block will meet with the Director of Research within 3 months of their block to mature and finalize their research plan
  • PGY-3 – each resident will complete a 3-month block dedicated to research.
    The residents will each meet with the Director of Research to create a research plan prior to beginning their block.
    This plan will cover clinical and research interests, current research skills, desired skills to acquire as well as a list of research projects, projects status and end products (e.g. manuscript(s)).During the research block, the resident will meet regularly with Director of Research as well as their Faculty sponsor to track progress of projects as well as to create small goals to be accomplished between meeting times.
    This ensures the residents are supported during their research time and make effective progress towards completing projects in a timely manner.
    The PGY-3s who have completed their block prior to March will be required to submit their work to the Lederer Pierce regional scientific symposium
  • PGY-4 and 5 – during the remaining two years, the residents will meet at minimum twice a year with Director of Research to ensure satisfactory completion of remaining projects as well as make sure residents are meeting the above requirements


By graduation, our job is to help you achieve the following minimum standards!

  • Posters – Two posters to be presented at either a regional, national or international conference
  • Manuscripts – Two manuscripts, ideally a product of poster presentation, written and submitted to a peer-reviewed journal with the goal of publication. One manuscript will be a shorter piece such as a case report, commentary, or retrospective chart review. The second manuscript to come from a project developed by the resident with faculty assistance and guidance based in sound research methods
  • Oral presentation – One oral presentation performed at a regional, national, or international conference

Objectives for the resident research experience include:

  • Develop an understanding of rigorous research methods – i.e. proper study design, data collection, data management/integrity, and basic statistical analysis
  • Design a project based on a hypothesis that incorporates the above research methods
  • Implement and carry out a project in which the resident become the principal investigator running and managing the study while at the same time managing co-residents, medical students
  • Improve oral and written communication of research results
  • Develop the skills and become practiced at critically assessing published literature


Temporal Bone Laboratory

The department maintains a 15 station temporal bone laboratory in the Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Each station is equipped with a Zeiss microscope, drill console, drill, suction and otologic instruments. Human temporal bones are procured from the Anatomy department of the University annually.
The temporal bone laboratory is available to the residents 365 days a year

Bhatt Surgical Training Center

Located in the Eye and Ear Infirmary, the Bhatt Sinus facility includes 10 modular stations, a 108 inch video screen, a ceiling mounted Sharp projector, video (computer/DVD) and audio (CD/Bose surround sound) capabilities for lecture/instruction.
Two computer stations with network access are available.
The modular design of the facility offers a variety of opportunities for research and instruction (Courses held here include Head and Neck Anatomy, Endoscopic Sinus Dissection, didactic presentations, etc.)

Medrobotics Training

The Flex® Robotic System gives physicians the ability to access anatomical locations that were previously difficult or impossible to reach minimally invasively.
And because it is affordable and efficient, the Flex® Robotic System allows hospitals to expand the patient population that they serve and improve the productivity of their facilities.

General Laboratory Space

Two laboratories are available and used for general research purposes.
The labs are used for small animal procedures and include an Instron tensile/compressive strength testing system and equipment for non-bone and decalcified histological preparation.
Dissecting and objective microscopes are available for tissue evaluation.

Biologic Resources Laboratory

The University of Illinois maintains an animal facility with surgical suites for research purposes.
The facility houses a variety of animal species and includes a surgical facility with specifically trained veterinarian and veterinary technician staff to manage pre and post-operative anesthesia and analgesic needs of the animals.

3D MD three dimensional imager

TThis three dimensional imager is available for all facial plastic research and is an important tool for performing objective analysis of changes in facial contour.
The system allows precise measurement of facial contour changes and can make comparisons preoperatively and postoperatively.
The 3-D imager is actively used in many of the facial plastic research projects

Lions Library

The Lions Library maintains an extensive collection of textbooks in both Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology.
A library science specialist is on staff to assist in computer searches and data sourcing.
The most current journal releases applicable to Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery are available in the library and updated weekly/monthly.

Computer Search Capabilities

The departmental resident room, located just off the clinic area, includes numerous medical textbooks and training materials.
Additionally, there are 5 computers with Ethernet and University Portal access.
Links through the UIC website include the medical library vast array of databases and search criteria to locate both past and current journal information


Statistical consultation and support are available through the division of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health, The Design and Analysis Core of UIC’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and/or UIC’s Research Resource Center.
Consultation and evaluation of statistical methods and data are readily available to residents, faculty, and staff


    • Samra S, Steitz JT, Hajnas N, Toriumi DM.Surgical Management of Nasal Valve Collapse. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2018 Jul 12.1; pii: S0030-6665(18)30095-1. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2018.05.009. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
      PubMed PMID: 30017094.
    • Rao N,Toriumi DM. Auricular Composite Grafting in Functional Rhinoplasty.Facial Plast Surg. 2017 Aug;33(4):405-410. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1604107. Epub 2017 Jul 28
      PubMed PMID: 30017094.
    • Samra S, Wu A, Redleaf M. Interactive iPhone/iPad App for Increased Tympanic Membrane Familiarity. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2016 Dec;125(12):997-1000. Epub 2016 Sep 26.
    • PubMed PMID: 27670957.
    • Toriumi DM, Chung VK, Cappelle QM . Surgical Adhesives in Facial Plastic Surgery. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2016 Jun;49(3):585-99. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2016.02.012. Review.
      PubMed PMID: 27267012.
    • Valika T, Redleaf M. Middle Cranial Fossa Dehiscence as an Incidental Finding on CT. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2016 Sep;125(9):729-33. doi:10.1177/0003489416650683. Epub 2016 May 30.
      PubMed PMID: 27242365.
    • Sapthavee A, Munaretto N, Toriumi DM. Skin Grafts vs Local Flaps for Reconstruction of Nasal Defects: A Retrospective Cohort Study. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2015 Jul-Aug;17(4):270-3. doi: 10.1001/jamafacial.2015.0444.
      PubMed PMID: 26021837.
    • Lieberman E, Redleaf M. The Otalgia Point: A Novel Clinical Gesture in Otolaryngology. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2015 Dec;124(12):953-6. doi: 10.1177/0003489415593555. Epub 2015 Jul 2.
      PubMed PMID: 26139645.
  • Rao N, Redleaf M. Spontaneous middle cranial fossa cerebrospinal fluid otorrhea in adults. Laryngoscope. 2016 Feb;126(2):464-8. doi: 10.1002/lary.25461. Epub 2015 Aug 8. Review.
  • PubMed PMID: 26257015.


    • Elise Lippmann, MD received the Toriumi Otologic Research Award in 2018 for her project “Transcutaneous Osseointegrated Implants for Pediatric patients with Aural Atresia”
    • Sarah Khayat, MD was the Resident Research Symposium Winner in 2018
    • Neela Rao, MD, won 1st Place in the 2017 Lederer Pierce Resident Research Competitionfor her presentation on the “Effects of topical yeast protein extract on wound healing in a mouse model”
    • Sheena Samara, MD received the Toriumi Otologic Research Award in 2017 for her project “Educational efficacy of Buckingham Virtual Tympanum I-Phone App”
    • Katherine Nickley, MD was the Resident Research Symposium Winner in 2017
    • Taher Valika, MD received the Toriumi Otologic Research Award in 2016 for his project “Middle Cranial Fossa Dehiscence as an Incidental Finding on CT”.
    • Cara Watts, MD was the Resident Research Symposium Winner in 2016


    • Auddie Swies won an AAO-HNF humanitarian travel grant for his January 2019 Kenya trip
    • Elise Lippmann received a $1000 grant, in November 2018, for her project entitled “Validating the use of a non-linguistic test across a broad clinical population”
    • Neela Rao received the “Residency Travel Award” from the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery for the most outstanding paper primarily authored by a medical student or resident in training. This award was presented in Phoenix, Arizona on 10/2017
    • Kate Nickley and Neela Rao both received Humanitarian Travel Grants from the American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head & Neck Surgery



MAY,2019AAFPRSCristel/ToriumiUse of Liposomal Bupivacaine for Reducing Pain Following Costal Cartilage Harvest in Rhinoplasty
MAY,2019TRIOLabby/Yu/WeinreichThe Cartilage Cuffed T-Tube Tympanoplasty
MAY,2019TRIOKhayat/JoeTrauma Informed Care in Laryngology


MAY,2019ALACristel/SimsTrauma Informed Care in Laryngology
MAY,2019AHNSCristel/AchimAdvantages of Mobile Endoscopy in Academic Otolaryngology
MAY,2019AOS John Wilson IV/Jeffrey YuPredicting Cochlear Implant Candidacy using Routine Audiometric Data
MAY,2019TRIOKhayat/JoeEmergent Surgical Airways in Residency: An Assessment of Competence and a Teaching Model

Quality Improvement


Not only is patient safety and quality improvement (PSQI) required for an ACGME accredited otolaryngology program, many health systems and employers are requiring employees to participate in initiatives.
At UIC, we have taken this mission of PSQI to heart. We want our graduating residents to not just have participated in projects but to have the formal tools develop their own projects and ultimately become leaders.

We have implemented the following structure to achieve this goal:

  • A formal didactic lecture series within the Department of Otolaryngology. Monthly lectures in addition to M&M given by invited experts of UIC and UI Health.
  • Participation in a 3 days dedicated QI program resulting in a certificate of completion
  • Design and execution of QI projects that apply skills and knowledge to identified problems and issues of patient safety. Residents may develop their own projects, work as a PGY class to design a program, or become involved in programs within UI Health

Quality Improvement


  1. All residents will be involved in QI projects
    1. PGY1 and 2 residents will be actively involved in current projects, working to develop their own project
    2. PGY3 residents will implement their own project based on an inpatient or clinical event witnessed or an improvement project with respect to clinical education or process
    3. PGY3 residents will identify a mentor to facilitate the project and provide additional oversight
    4. PGY4 and 5 residents will complete project or prepare for transition to junior residents
    5. All residents will present their on-going projects at the end of the year with invited stakeholders
    6. Residents will consider avenues for publication
  2. 75% attendance rate for QI lecture curriculum
  3. PGY3 research residents will attend a three day QI course organized by UIC faculty, designed to reinforce the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to successfully implement change initiatives and improvement projects

Quality Improvement


What is Quality and Patient Safety?

  1. Care must be safe
  2. Care must be effective and reliable
  3. Care must be patient centered
  4. Care must be timely
  5. Care must be efficient
  6. Care must be equitable
  7. Quality improvement and pay-for-performance

Introduction to Quality Improvement (Dr. Richard Banchs)

  1. Why?
  2. What are the basics?
  3. How to choose a QI project?
  4. What is the framework of a QI project?
  5. Why is this important at the resident physician level?
  6. What is the role of a sponsor?

How to design and implement a QI project: the nuts and bolts

(Dr. Ari Rubenfeld)

  1. PDSA cycle
  2. RCA
  3. Fishbone diagrams
  4. Pareto charts

NSQIP (Dr. Ari Rubenfeld)

  1. How a big database works
  2. How to use the data

Medical Legal aspects related to providing surgical care

(Hospital Department Attorney)

Risk Management (Rhonda Perna, Chief of Risk Management)

  1. Presentation from this department on who they are and the role they serve at UI Health
  2. Remove the stigma
  3. Review patient safety event reporting here and what the follow-up steps entail

UI Health Culture of Safety & Current Initiatives

(Jodie Joyce, Chief Quality Officer)

  1. UI Health culture of safety
  2. Current QI initiatives within our system

Teamwork in the hospital setting (Shelly Major, CNO)

  1. Identify necessary elements to achieve teamwork
  2. Identify effective team leadership qualities

Functional M&M (Dr. Ari Rubenfeld)

Resident Presentations (Dr. Virginie Achim)