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2020 University Hospitals Ear, Nose & Throat Institute Clinical Highlights


Expanding clinical programs, services and research

Innovations in Ear, Nose & Throat | Fall 2020


The department’s Division of Otology/Neurotology grew by 300 percent in 2020, with five neurotologists on staff. A welcome addition is Alejandro Rivas, MD, who recently joined UH as the new Division Chief of Otology/Neurotology and as the second Richard W. and Patricia R. Pogue Chair in Auditory Surgery and Hearing Sciences – a role previously held by UH President Cliff Megerian, MD.

Dr. Rivas’ areas of expertise include cochlear implantation, endoscopic ear surgery, single-stage microtia repair and acoustic neuroma surgery. He is a Fellow of the American Neurotology Society, American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, and Triological Society.

Dr. Rivas joins four other expert neurotologists in his overall expanded division:

  • Nauman Manzoor, MD, is a previous ENT resident who completed his otology/neurotology fellowship at Vanderbilt.  He rejoins UH as an Assistant Professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
  • Maroun Semaan, MD, rejoins the department after spending a year in Lebanon at the American University of Beirut. He is an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery at the School of Medicine. He will also be engaged in a quality role through the UH Population Health team, led by Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD.
  • Sarah Mowry, MD, is an Associate Professor at the School of Medicine and the department’s Residency Program Director.
  • Cliff Megerian, MD, is President of University Hospitals and Professor at the School of Medicine.

The team will partner with expert audiology services led by Gail Murray PhD, CCC-A, Director of Audiology Services at UH Cleveland Medical Center.


Kenneth Rodriguez, MD, Division Chief, Rhinology and Skull Base Surgery, welcomes two new members to his division:

William Colby Brown, MD, completed his fellowship training in rhinology and anterior skull base surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will practice at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center and UH Cleveland Medical Center.

John Gerka Stuyt, MD, completed his fellowship in Rhinology and Anterior Skull Base Surgery at the University of California, Irvine, and will practice at UH Akron ENT, and UH Portage Medical Center and UH Solon Health Center.

These new faculty — in addition to current faculty members Brian D’Anza, MD, and Nipun Chhabra, MD — bring the number of fellowship-trained sinus surgeons within the UH system to five. Rhinology also welcomed a nurse practitioner, Courtney McAvinew, CNP, who will be managing the department’s nonsurgical sinus and nasal practice.

Rhinology achievements and appointments

Dr. D’Anza, who is a founding member of the AAO Telehealth Committee and Medical Director of Telehealth at UH, works daily to refine and improve telehealth services for UH patients. Under his leadership, THE UH Ear, Nose & Throat Institute has dramatically expanded telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic.

Also in 2020, the division celebrated the appointment of Dr. Chhabra as Division Chief for ENT at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

Division Chief Dr. Rodriguez was also selected as an inaugural member of the American Rhinologic Society’s (ARS) Skull Base and Orbital Surgery Section and it's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He was recently appointed to the editorial board of the American Journal of Otolaryngology.


Cyrus Rabbani, MD, joined UH ENT Institute as a facial plastic surgeon, supporting the growth of the new facial reanimation program. He recently completed his fellowship at Johns Hopkins University with specialty interest in facial reanimation.

In addition to helping build the program, Dr. Rabbani brings expertise in functional/cosmetic rhinoplasty and other cosmetic rejuvenation procedures. He will work collaboratively with the UH pediatric craniofacial clinic and with neurology and plastics to deliver true multidisciplinary care.


We welcome Akina Tamaki, MD to our Head and Neck Oncology Division. Dr. Tamaki completed her fellowship training at the Ohio State University in Head and Neck Microvascular Reconstruction and joins 6 fellow faculty: Rod Rezaee MD, Pierre Lavertu MD, Ted Teknos MD, Nicole Fowler MD, Jason Thuener MD, Shawn Li MD.

Research to accelerate cancer

In September, the National Institutes of Health awarded School of Medicine researchers a $420,000 grant to develop a new device for instantly detecting oral cancer. Applying imaging and algorithmic technologies, the device would replace costlier, drawn-out lab testing — typically involving a painful biopsy of a patient’s mouth lesion — with a hand-held tool that could deliver test results in as few as 30 minutes.

“The idea is to quickly, easily, non-invasively and cost-effectively determine if a suspicious lesion is cancerous, or in other cases, to screen individuals regularly to see if their lesion has progressed to cancer,” explains Aaron Weinberg, PhD, the project's principal investigator and a professor in the School of Dental Medicine, and the UH ENT Institute.

Dr. Weinberg’s team of interdisciplinary researchers also includes Umut Gurkan, PhD, the Warren E. Rupp Associate Professor at the Case School of Engineering; Anant Madabhushi, PhD, the F. Alex Nason Professor II of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics; and Rod Rezaee, MD, also an associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the School of Medicine.

No Clinic, No Problem

On October 1, Ear, Nose & Throat Quality Lead Nicole Fowler, MD, and her team operationalized the department’s first Oral Cancer Screening Program outside of University Hospitals. The screening was held at a local Cleveland homeless shelter that houses 40 residents.

Dr. Fowler’s multi-disciplinary team, which included faculty, residents, nurses and administrative support from Jasmine Boggan, and community outreach support from Chesley Cheatham, and fully embodied the UH mission: “The Science of Health. The Art of Compassion.” The team screened 20 individuals, resulting in one new skin cancer diagnosis and 25% of patients requiring follow-up.

The team applied for and received a $1,000 grant through the American Head & Neck Society’s Community Service Awards to support this effort.

Having recently completed the FLEX program for female faculty in the School of Medicine, Dr. Fowler continues to grow her leadership expertise. In 2020, she was selected for the American Head & Neck Society’s (AHNS) Survivorship, Supportive Care & Rehab Service/Committee and Diversity Service/Committee for 2020-2023. She was also chosen to participate in the 2020 Otolaryngology Women’s Leadership Program.


  • Sarah Mowry, MD secured a $90K grant from Johnson and Johnson Education Solutions, $5K from Stryker, $1500 from Grace Medical to provide new technology to support our temporal bone lab.
  • Ben Johnson, MD (Resident), along with mentor Kumar Alagramam, PhD, received $20K from the American Hearing Research Foundation, Chicago, IL. This grant supports a pilot study to test the efficacy of the antimalarial drug, Artesunage, to mitigate hearing loss in the preclinical model for hearing loss associated with Usher Syndrome IIIA.
  • Jay Shah, MD was awarded a $10,700 GME Med Ed Research Innovation Award for his project “Bronchoscopy Readiness of New Current Hospital Trainees (BRONCH)”. The research team includes Drs. Anderson, Frazee, Seidman, Shah, Myers, Roesch, Craven, Rose, and Endres.
  • Armine Kocharyan, MD (Resident), received the prestigious American Neurotology Society (ANS) 2020 trainee award for basic science.


The UH Ear, Nose & Throat Institute's faculty have published in a wide variety of journals on topics pertaining to all our divisions during 2020. I offer a special thanks to all faculty, resident, fellows, students, and staff who perform and support the research mission of the department.

View the notable list of publications.

To reach the UH Ear, Nose & Throat Institute, call 216-868-8943.