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Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service

The Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service recognizes an Academy member who is widely known for a consistent, stable character distinguished by honesty, zeal for truth, integrity, love and devotion to humanity and a self-giving spirit. The awardee is an outstanding example and model to emulate for a life dedicated to a nobler, more righteous, and more productive way for the human to live as an individual on this earth. The awardee is well known for professional excellence and has demonstrated professional dedication by the giving of professional skills freely, and without desire for personal gain or aggrandizement, to those in this world who cannot otherwise, physically and financially, receive them. The President presents this award during the Annual Meeting Opening Ceremony.

Apply today. Application deadline extended to May 1. 

2020 Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service Recipient: Merry E. Sebelik, MD. 

This year’s awardee is Merry E. Sebelik, MD. She is a Professor in Emory University’s Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, serving in the Division of Head and Neck Endocrine Surgery at the Winship Cancer Institute. She serves as a faculty mentor with Emory University’s Global Health Resident Scholar Program, partnering with otolaryngology training in Ethiopia.

Dr. Sebelik has been privileged to work with otolaryngology colleagues in many parts of the world. She has served on and is Past-Chair of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Humanitarian Efforts Committee, watching the interest of AAO members in global health flourish over nearly 20 years.

Dr. Sebelik particularly enjoys teaching head and neck surgery skills and is an American College of Surgeons (ACS) ultrasound instructor. She co-directed an ACS thyroid and parathyroid ultrasound course at the University of Cape Town to head and neck surgeons living and working in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is eager to expand Head and Neck Point-of-Care ultrasound expertise, most recently teaching at the 3rd Annual African Head and Neck Society meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Through her interest in global surgical deficits, Dr. Sebelik has been privileged to collaborate with colleagues and trainees in many low and middle-income countries, and thus facilitate care to head and neck patients who may otherwise have little access to surgical care.

Dr. Sebelik received her medical degree and OTO-HNS training at the Medical College of Wisconsin as well as fellowship training in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.

Previous Recipients:
  • 2019: Glenn C. Isaacson, MD
  • 2018: Dr. Susan R. Cordes, MD
  • 2017: Bruce H. Campbell, MD, FACS
  • 2016: Wayne M. Koch, MD
  • 2015: H. Dennis Snyder, MD, FACS
  • 2014: John Thomas Roland, Jr., MD, FACS
  • 2013: James E. Saunders, MD
  • 2012: John M. Hodges, MD, FACS 
  • 2011: Anna H. Messner, MD 
  • 2010: Peter S. Roland, MD 
  • 2009: Richard Wagner, MD
  • 2008: James D. Smith, MD
  • 2007: Drew M. Horlbeck, MD
  • 2006: Craig P. Hedges, MD
  • 2005: Brent A. Senior, MD
  • 2004: James L. Netterville, MD
  • 2003: Byron James Bailey Jr., MD
  • 2002: David S. Parsons, MD
  • 2001: Michael J. McGee, MD
  • 2000: Sylvan E. Stool, MD
  • 1999: Juan J. Garro, MD
  • 1998: Daniel M. Martinez, MD
  • 1997: No award
  • 1996: Salyaveth Lekagul, MD and Soontorn Antarasena, MD
  • 1995: Hans von Leden, MD
  • 1994: Jack V. D. Hough, MD
  • 1993: Samuel O. Massey Jr., MD
  • 1992: M. Coyle Shea Jr., MD
  • 1991: M. C. Culbertson Jr. MD
  • 1990: Col. Joan Zajtchuk, MD