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Duke Surgery Appoints New Division Chief of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences

Monday, October 17, 2016
By Brooke Walker, Department of Surgery
Dr. Howard Francis, Chief of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences

The Duke Department of Surgery is pleased to announce the appointment of Howard W. Francis, MD, MBA, FACS, as the new chief of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences. Dr. Francis comes to Duke from Johns Hopkins University where he served as professor and vice director of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (OHNS) and director of the Johns Hopkins Listening Center. Other roles at Johns Hopkins included director of the OHNS residency program, inaugural co-chair of the Johns Hopkins Ambulatory Patient Safety and Quality Task Force and program development responsibilities within Johns Hopkins International in Trinidad and Tobago, and Southeast Asia.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have someone of Dr. Francis’ stature join our already strong group,” says Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Surgery. “He has exceptional leadership skills and will help propel our division to new levels of national prominence. There is uniform enthusiasm for his arrival. The entire institution joins me in welcoming Dr. Francis and his family to the Duke family.”

Dr. Francis received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health, Science, and Technology. He completed his residency in OHNS followed by a fellowship in neurotology and skull base surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Additionally, he received his MBA from the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Francis is an internationally recognized expert in ear and skull base surgery with over 20 years of experience in this field. Starting with the elucidation of biological mechanisms of hearing loss, his research interests and contributions have evolved over the years. These include the development and evaluation of best practices in acoustic neuroma treatment, the study of functional, psychosocial, and quality of life outcomes of cochlear implantation, and the development of best practices in surgical education. His organizational roles include co-chair of the Research Committee for the American Cochlear Implant Alliance, chair of the URM Diversity Committee of the Society of University Otolaryngologists, senior examiner of the American Board of Otolaryngology, and member of the OHNS Residency Review Committee of the ACGME. He serves on the Editorial Boards for Otology & Neurotology, Operative Techniques in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and the World Journal of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

In his new role, Dr. Francis will grow the clinical enterprise to serve the growing population of the Triangle, recruiting new talented clinicians to Head and Neck Oncology, General Otolaryngology, and Ancillary services. Dr. Francis will also work to enhance and nurture the research program building new collaborations across the institution. Areas of focus will include immunology, clinical research, and communication sciences.

Of his appointment, Dr. Francis states: “I am very much looking forward to joining the Duke community, and in particular the vibrant Division of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences. I feel a strong kinship to the division and its vision to be a global leader in promoting healthier connections with the world. I am impressed by Duke’s commitment to excellence in patient care, research, and education through strong collaborations. As the new division chief, I look forward to expanding the legacy of my predecessors by cultivating partnerships across Duke and supporting efforts by the faculty and trainees to transform the management of head and neck and communication disorders at home and abroad.”

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