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Phillip L. Khalil, D.O. (’01)

Specialty spotlight: Otolaryngology

Alumnus Dr. Phillip Khalil speaks to students for Career Medical Specialty Series 

By Richard Heck

Oct. 23, 2008

Although residency programs in otolaryngology—the field of ear, nose, throat, and head and neck medicine—are highly competitive, the specialty makes for a versatile and rewarding career, according to Phillip L. Khalil, D.O. (’01).

Khalil addressed first- and second-year students on Oct. 21 as part of OU-COM’s Career Medical Specialties Series. He runs a private practice at Ohio Valley Head and Neck Surgery in Cuyahoga Falls and Hudson, Ohio, where he treats pediatric ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders, as well as allergy, sinus, sleep apnea, hearing, balance, thyroid, speech, swallowing and salivary disorders. He also performs facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Otolaryngology offers physicians a “nice mix of surgery and medical treatments,” Khalil said. ENT disorders incorporate a variety of specialties, including respiratory medicine, audiology, speech pathology, endocrinology and neurology, to name a few.

In his practice, Khalil said he devotes one-half to two-thirds of his time to medical treatments and the rest to surgery. “I really like the medical aspect of my practice, but I enjoy surgery, too. You have to have an appreciation of all these different components.”

Khalil told the students that ENT residency programs are highly competitive because there are so few—only about 15 to 17 programs, which typically accept just one or two residents each year. “There are roughly 25 spots annually,” he said.

Three hospitals in OU-COM’s Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education offer such residencies: Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Grandview Medical Center in Dayton, and Affinity Medical Center in Massillon, each accepting one resident per year.

Khalil advised students to begin making connections early, as osteopathic residency directors often accept candidates who previously rotated through their programs. Osteopathic physicians can face even steeper competition for allopathic residency programs, given the greater number of M.D. applicants.

Khalil said that typical otolaryngology residencies involve a five-year program. The first year is a combined general surgery internship, and the remaining years are devoted exclusively to otolaryngology. Otolaryngology residents put in between 70 and 80 work hours per week, he said. “They’re long hours, and it’s tough, but doable.”

When choosing a specialty, Khalil told the students to “pick a specialty you really like,” but also to consider lifestyle factors associated with each choice. “If you truly enjoy the work, the extra hours won’t matter so much.”


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