We report with great sadness that Douglas B. Webster, PhD, passed away on September 21, 2017. Dr. Webster was one of the principal scientists in the early years of the LSU Kresge Hearing Research Laboratory of the South, and he served a 25-year long, distinguished and brilliant career at LSU.
Dr. Webster was a graduate of Oberlin College and earned a PhD in Zoology from Cornell University, He then served a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Cal Tech. For 11 years he was a member of the faculty at New York University. He came to LSU in 1973, and joined the Kresge Lab and the Department of Otolaryngology, and held a joint appointment in the Department of Anatomy. Over his career, he taught Gross Anatomy, Neuroscience, and Neuroanatomy to several generations of medical students, residents, and students of Allied Health professions. His passion for teaching won him numerous awards spanning many years at LSU.
Dr. Webster was among the most prolific and highly respected researchers in the University, and his work was recognized internationally for scientific excellence. His areas of interest included evolutionary aspects of hearing, and developmental influences on hearing as it relates to maturation of the central nervous system. His work included 47 referreed research papers and more than 100 other publications, including two widely used textbooks. He retired from LSU in 1998, and moved with his wife Molly to Arizona.
On a personal note, I will always remember Doug as my wonderful Neuroanatomy professor-- dynamic, inspiring, funny, thoughtful and thought provoking. His enthusiasm was absolutely infectious. Doug was one of the reasons I fell in love with Otolaryngology. He had a great gift for communicating the beauty and elegance of all the cranial nerves, reflexes and special senses (especially hearing), and the way these things interact to give us some of our greatest joys of life. There are so many lives he touched, and so many doctors, nurses, allied health practitioners whose careers he influenced.
When I finished my residency and joined the faculty in our department, Doug was universally generous, patient with me in my inexperience, and always brilliant. I keep a copy of Doug's excellent book, Neuroscience of Communication, on my "favorite books" shelf.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Doug’s wife Molly and all of his family, friends, colleagues and students. Please see his full obituary here.
Daniel W. Nuss, MD, FACS
George D. Lyons Professor and Chair
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center has once again been recognized among the best in the nation by US News and World Report in its 2017-2018 "Best Hospitals" rankings. The hospital ranked No.37 out of more than 4,500 medical centers evaluated in the US, placing it in the top 1% nationally.
The Facial Nerve Disorders Multidiscipline Clinic has launched at Our Lady of the Lake RMC in Baton Rouge, LA with extremely positive feedback from patients.
Dr. Jeffrey Hotaling was nominated for the Aesculapian Society's Junior Faculty Award.
Dr. Rohan Walvekar's book, "Gland-Preserving Salivary Surgery: A Problem-Based Approach," is to be published by Springer.
Welcome to the Department of Otolaryngology
The LSU Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery was founded in 1931 as one of the charter surgical departments in the newly created Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Although the geographics of the Department have changed as a result of Hurricane Katrina, our philosophies and commitment to patient care and education have remained the same.
The Department of Otolaryngology has continued to move forward and flourish. Our residents continue to be among the most sought after applicants and mature into compassionate and competent physicians of whom we can be proud. Since 1994, graduates of the LSU Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residency program have had 100% success rate in board certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology. In the last 20 years, the department has produced about a dozen graduates who went on to pursue careers in academic otolaryngology, and four of these have risen to the rank of department chair or higher. We have also been consistently successful in matching our graduates to exceptional fellowships at institutions such as M.D. Anderson, Sloan-Kettering, University of California at San Francisco, University of Pittsburgh, University of North Carolina, Lahey Clinic, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and others.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina forced a major reorganization of our program. We managed to continue our critical objectives of restoring education and patient care by forming new hospital affiliations in nearby cities, incorporating residents and faculty into new training sites, transforming us into a new “regional program”. Our practice now includes University Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, Touro Infirmary, West Jefferson Medical Center, the LSU St. Charles Clinic, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and LSU Surgical Facility (out-patient) in Baton Rouge; and University Hospital and Clinics and Lafayette General in Lafayette.
We have worked hard at -- and had the good fortune of -- retaining and recruiting a very talented faculty, and as a team we have been able to develop a high-volume tertiary referral practice that serves as the cornerstone of our clinical training program. We have a strong balance of seasoned and experienced senior faculty who have achieved national/international reputations in their respective fields, younger but experienced faculty who are clearly on track toward national recognition, and multiple junior faculty members who have immense potential as innovators and teachers.
We have also dedicated much of our time to research advancements. Dr. Hamilton Farris, Dr. Jennifer Lentz, and Dr. Chu Chen have represented LSU through many publications. Dr. Hamilton Farris was published in Smithsonian Science and Nature Communications in 2011 for research applicable to communication disorders associated with hearing loss and attention deficits or difficulties. Dr. Jennifer Lentz and associates have made headway in therapy that may rescue hearing and balance in those with Usher Syndrome and Dr. Chu Chen has uncovered possible solutions to memory loss in diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia. Dr. Ikuma Takeshi continues to facilitate the analysis of HSV data using the PVG method, determines the clinically salient PVG features and works on adding new clinically relevant parameters to PVG. We are hopeful that this addition to our research team will help achieve our goal of sustainable funding from the National Institutes of Health on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
The history of the LSU Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery is indeed a rich one. Our experiences have further defined us as resilient, creative, and indefatigable in our missions of patient care, research, and resident education.