Netterville inducted into AAO-HNS hall of distinctionOct. 28, 2021, 9:52 AM
by Emily Stembridge
James Netterville, MD, Mark C. Smith Professor of Otolaryngology, director of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery and associate director of the Bill Wilkerson Center, was inducted into the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery’s (AAO-HNS) inaugural hall of distinction at this year’s annual meeting.
The class consists of pioneer and current inductees, the latter of which Netterville has joined. The inaugural hall of distinction honors 12 members in the history of the AAO-HNS for their work and contributions to the field of otolaryngology.
“This award is one of the most meaningful of my entire life,” Netterville said. “Although I feel I do not deserve this distinction, it is an affirmation from my peers of the simple goals that I have tried to accomplish in my career: to deliver the most advanced yet compassionate oncologic care and to instill in young doctors the love of medicine and the desire to unselfishly make a difference in the world.
“Many of the inductees are my personal and academic heroes who have inspired me throughout my career,” Netterville continued.
“Each of their lives demonstrate a tremendous legacy of inspiration for creativity and excellence in the care of patients. To be included with them in this inaugural group is a tremendous personal honor.”
“Dr. Netterville was inducted into the inaugural class of the hall of distinction along with only 11 others,” said David Haynes, MD, professor of Otolaryngology and Hearing and Speech Sciences and chief of the Neurotology Division.
“I cannot think of another individual who has been more inspiring to a greater number of students, residents, fellows and faculty than Dr. Netterville.”
The Department of Otolaryngology was established upon Netterville’s arrival to Vanderbilt in 1986, along with Robert Ossoff, DMD, MD, James Duncavage, MD, David Zealear, PhD, and William Russell Ries, MD.
“There were no infrastructure, facilities, fellows or residents then,” Haynes said. “Thirty-plus years later, Dr. Netterville continues to inspire and create a path for us that is much easier than the one he forged. He is an example to all of us as otolaryngologists, and we are grateful to have him as a standard to aspire to.”
Netterville received his MD from the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences. He went on to complete a residency in surgery at Methodist Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and a residency in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences. He completed his fellowship in head and neck surgery, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa.
At VUMC, Netterville promotes education and research in voice disorders and head and neck oncologic surgery. He has trained 125 residents and 58 fellows in advanced head and neck oncologic surgery, many of whom have gone on to become leaders and department chairs at major cancer centers across the U.S.
His emphasis on training also extends well beyond VUMC. Over the past 22 years, he and his partners have collaborated with academic centers in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Haiti to organize more than 30 surgical-educational outreach camps where senior American head and neck surgeons donate their time to train regional surgeons in specialized surgeries for the head and neck. In 2004, Netterville received the AAO-HNS distinguished award for humanitarian efforts, and his camps have become a model for medical outreach.
In 2009, he received the AAO-HNS Board of Governors practitioner excellence award and the outstanding alumnus award from his alma mater.
He is a past president of the AAO-HNS and has received many honors and awards in his career, including the deRoaldes award and two presidential citations from the American Laryngological Association.
“There is not a person better deserving of this award,” said Eben Rosenthal, MD, chair of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck surgery. “He has defined novel surgical approaches and trained a generation of head and neck surgeons.”