After completing an American Board of OtolaryngologypHead and Neck Surgery-compliant PGY-1 year of training, otolaryngology residents at Wake Forest School of Medicine spend the following four years gaining comprehensive inpatient training, outpatient training and research experience.

Inpatient Clinical Training

The entire inpatient experience is gained at the main teaching hospital, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, an 885-bed Level I trauma center that serves as the primary academic referral hospital for the western half of North Carolina. We also routinely care for patients from Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Brenner Children’s Hospital occupies an attached tower on the main medical campus, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center also resides on the main teaching campus.

Within these facilities, there are:

  • Separate adult and pediatric emergency departments
  • A large surgical suite with 40 operating rooms (including adult inpatient, adult outpatient and pediatric operating areas)
  • Multiple subspecialty intensive care units
  • Adult day hospital
  • Numerous inpatient units

Having all clinical experience on one campus has distinct advantages. Residents can easily participate in the departmental academic curriculum. They get to know each other very well, as they see each other every day, eat meals together and round together. In addition, since the number of faculty is roughly the same as the number of residents, there is ample time for one-on-one interaction between them.

Outpatient Clinical Training

The reality is that almost every practicing otolaryngologist spends the majority of time in the outpatient clinic caring for patients. There is a great paradox in current Otolaryngology training in this country that the large majority of time during residency is spent in the inpatient setting and in the operating room. It remains a challenge for all Otolaryngology training programs to prepare their trainees to be fully prepared and comfortable to function in an outpatient care environment. Graduates must possess the readiness to be accountable for the longitudinal care of patients throughout the continuum of clinical care. Graduates from our program are uniquely prepared in this regard.

Otolaryngology residents obtain experience in faculty outpatient clinics and in the resident continuity (aka “OPD”) clinic.


An important part of our residents’ training is learning basic research concepts and contributing original research. Faculty and residents collaborate in both clinical and basic science research. Residents are supported to attend at least three national meetings (Academy meeting during PGY-3 and PGY-5 and COSM during PGY-4) and also the North Carolina/South Carolina Otolaryngology annual meeting during PGY-3 year of training. Residents are expected to submit an original research project to each of these meetings.

Residents have four months of dedicated research time:

  • One month during PGY-2 is spent organizing at least one research activity, presenting a research prospectus to the otolaryngology department and beginning the process of writing an internal review board application
  • Two months during PGY-3 are spent doing the majority of the data acquisition and assimilation and moving projects to completion
  • An additional month during PGY-4 is spent bringing open research projects to a close

Conferences and Didactics

To lay the groundwork for clinical and research exposure, the department maintains a comprehensive lecture and conference curriculum for the ongoing education of residents and faculty, which includes:

Otolaryngology Subspecialty Videos