Laryngology & Voice Disorders
One-Year Fellowship Program
July 2017-June 2018

 

The Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio has been offering a one-year Fellowship in Laryngology and Voice Disorders since July 2008. The program director, Dr. Blake Simpson, has been practicing laryngology exclusively for 20 years in San Antonio, following a Fellowship in Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice at Vanderbilt University.

 

Dr. Simpson’s practice is a very busy, varied laryngology practice which is predominantly voice (including a substantial amount of professional voice/singing voice), but also provides an ample amount of exposure to airway stenosis and swallowing disorders. The referral base is huge, drawing from the entire state of Texas, as well as the southwestern region of the country. Dr. Simpson’s particular areas of expertise include laryngeal framework surgery (medialization laryngoplasty, arytenoid adduction), microlaryngeal “microflap” surgery, innovative treatments for airway stenosis, and local office-based procedures (including vocal fold injection augmentation, per-oral and EMG-guided Botox, pulsed-KTP laser treatment of laryngeal lesions, and laser treatment of airway stenosis under local anesthesia). The Fellow will receive extensive exposure and hands-on experience in all of these areas.

 

We have a new addition to the program, Dr. Laura Dominguez who finished her fellowship with us recently and joined the staff in September of 2015. She will be a strong new addition, as we continue to grow our practice and the fellowship.

 

In addition to exposure to the diagnostic and surgical aspects of laryngology, the Fellow will work closely with our Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) team in a collaborative role to augment their educational experience. All new patients are seen with the speech pathologist at their first clinic visit. We believe this collaborative approach strengthens the Fellow’s experience. The SLP team is particularly valuable in providing additional training in swallowing evaluation and treatment, including FEES (functional endoscopic evaluation of swallowing), and modified barium swallow exams.

 

The weekly schedule of the Fellow is as follows:

Monday: Clinic with Dr. Simpson
Tuesday: Academic time in the morning and Fellow private clinic in the afternoon
Wednesday: Clinic (new and return patients)/ Office based procedures (alternates each week)
Thursday: OR in the morning and Airway Clinic in the afternoon
Friday: OR

 

The Thursday OR day is mostly microflaps, injections, and local anesthesia-based procedures and is in our Ambulatory Surgery Center. Friday OR is framework and airway surgery and occurs at University Hospital.

 

The caseload that comes from the Fellow’s own clinic is almost exclusively laryngology and is a good way to experience the process of developing a voice practice, before beginning an academic or private practice career. The residents will be very involved in the care of these patients, and this is an excellent way to prepare the Fellow for an academic career.

 

In terms of the educational experience of the Fellow, a text co-authored by Dr. Simpson entitled “Operative Techniques in Laryngology” will be provided to the Fellow to help prepare for surgical cases. Also, the Fellow will have an all-expenses paid trip to attend the annual Advanced Practices in Voice and Dysphagia course in Las Vegas, of which Dr. Simpson serves as a co-director. In addition, the Fellow’s travel and accommodations are covered for the Fall Voice Conference and the annual Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings. As a general rule, the Fellow is expected to submit an abstract to each meeting.

 

The physical plant for the Laryngology Fellowship is first rate. The Voice Center is in our primary practice building, the Medical Arts and Research Center or “MARC” where we have generous clinic space including 3 large videostroboscopy suites, a procedure room, 9 chip-tip flexible laryngoscopes (4 with side channels for procedures), 2 transnasal esophagoscopes, and a pulsed-KTP laser for minimally invasive treatments in the clinic. In addition, a surgery center is present in the building where all elective outpatient cases take place. All airway and framework cases are performed at University Hospital, our primary affiliated hospital.

 

All potential fellowship candidates must submit a letter of intent, a CV, along with 3 letters of recommendation from the faculty in their residency program. Interviews take place January through April of the resident’s PG4 year. The fellowship match occurs in May of the PG4 year.