Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Chair's Message

Welcome to the website for the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Within this site you will learn more about our educational opportunities and the research being done within our department, and also meet the faculty physicians that teach and practice out of Feinberg-affiliated hospitals and patient care facilities.

Historically, the Northwestern Medicine Otolaryngology Department has been home to some of the most prominent leaders in the field. We are dedicated to maintaining this rich tradition with cutting-edge programs in the full range of the specialty, including:

The multidisciplinary program for the management of chronic rhinosinusitis continues to be one of the best in the world. Annually, we see approximately 10,000 patients with sinusitis and skull base tumors and perform over 1,000 endonasal procedures using state-of-the-art technology. The collaboration with the Division of Allergy allows for the most comprehensive and time-efficient clinical evaluations of patients with rhinologic disorders, highlighting our “Patients First” philosophy. Furthermore, this partnership with Allergy has resulted in over $15 million in NIH research grant support to study all aspects of chronic rhinosinusitis. Several industry and NIH sponsored clinical trials allow us to offer patients the most innovative treatment options.

The ENT/Neurosurgery team, focused on the minimally-invasive removal of skull base tumors through the nose, continues to be the market leader. The senior clinicians in this program have worked together for over eight years, by far the most experienced and durable collaboration of its type in Chicago.

The Head and Cancer program has undergone a very successful transition under current Chief, Sandeep Samant MD. Dr. Samant was Chief of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Tennessee for several years prior to joining us. In addition to expansion of the clinical program, we are advancing on the research front in the areas of speech and swallowing. Recruitments are underway in concert with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders under the leadership of Sumit Dhar Ph.D. This department has a rich research tradition, particularly in the area of head and cancer.

The Otology, Laryngology and Pediatric programs also continue to grow and shine. The research programs in hearing, speech and language are the recipients of multiple NIH grants allowing us to offer the best, most up-to-date treatment options for our patients.


We recruit some of the very best resident applicants in the country to our program by offering a robust yet balanced caseload across the full range of clinical care settings. This includes not just the otolaryngology training program but also the dental residency, the oral and maxillofacial surgery internship and the fellowship programs in pediatric otolaryngology and adult rhinology. Instruction takes place at high quality, state-of the-art, ambulatory and inpatient facilities with the full mix of clinical problems seen in large urban centers. This environment provides our trainees with the requisite skills necessary to care for the full range of otolaryngic and dental disorders. These are the exceptional experiences that come with being part of a world-class academic medical center.


The research environment at Feinberg in general is rich and getting richer. Within Otolaryngology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, the collaborative programs on rhinosinusitis and hearing disorders reach across departments within the medical school and across schools within the university.  Efforts in these focused areas of study have garnered national and international acclaim.  In the years ahead, we hope to grow our research efforts in laryngology and head and neck cancer. From molecular biology to epidemiology, from stem cells to nanotechnology, the departmental research programs offer faculty, fellows, and residents an array of opportunities to shape the standard of care of tomorrow.

Our Growth

Currently, Northwestern Memorial Hospital is ranked in the top 20 by the US News and World Report for ear, nose, and throat care. The Feinberg Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery is similarly ranked in the top 20 in NIH grant funding for otolaryngology-related research.  This represents substantial growth over the last five years and reflects our commitment to clinical and academic excellence.


Robert C. Kern, MD
Professor and Chairman
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine