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Otolaryngology - HNS
1 UNM MSC 10 5610
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505) 272-6451
Fax: (505) 272-1669

Administration Email: Pearl Benavidez

Otolaryngology Residency

The Otolaryngology Surgery Residency at The University of New Mexico specialized in training the head and neck surgeons of tomorrow. We are very proud of our program and continually strive to create the best possible learning environment for our residents. Camaraderie and sense of group purpose are the hallmarks of this residency program.

We are a small program, alternating between one and two resident positions per year, and as such, offer unparalleled opportunities for individual teaching and attention. We encourage interested medical students to join us for an away rotation. Applications are accepted here for international students. Thank you for your interest in our program.

Life as a UNM Otolaryngology Resident


"Work hard, play hard"

Residents frequently meet outside the hospital to celebrate their free time together at local restaurants, sports events, and parks. Historically, we tend to attract residents who enjoy the outdoor activities that abound in this region such as rock climbing, skiing, hiking, and cycling. For those with more refined tastes, there are a variety of excellent restaurants, museums, and theaters in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Ethos: The responsibility of being a new physician and the strain of work are offset by an open and supportive work environment and a strong sense of collegiality. Most importantly, living in New Mexico means that when not at work, residents are surrounded by a beautiful landscape with a vast array of activities available to them.

The 80-Hour Work Week: The 80-hour work week, as set forth by ACGME, is respected and enforced in our program. We do not have in-house call. Residents are assured of at least one day off per week, and in practice, regularly have two to three full weekends off per month.

The Voice of Our Residents: Our program is dynamic and reflects the values of our residents. Systems based meetings are held monthly and function as a forum for residents not only to express concerns, but to put forth creative ideas for expanding and improving our training experience.

Relationships with Attending Physicians: The hierarchy created by traditional medical school culture is not stressed within our program. Because of our small residency size, residents of all levels constantly interact directly with attendings. Communication is recognized as one of the most important tools for learning, and is open and active among residents, and between residents and attendings. The friendships shared by residents and faculty are vital; they transform the workplace into a positive and enjoyable learning environment.


Our educational mission is realized at the bedside, in the OR, on rounds, in conferences and in seminars. A listing of rotations can be seen below. We have strived to create a schedule that provides adequate structure to insure a consistent experience for each resident but that is flexible enough to accommodate individual interests and career goals.

The hallmarks of the educational program are the ACGME core competencies, which are stressed throughout the residency experience: Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Practice-Based Learning and Improvement, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Professionalism, and Systems-Based Practice.

OR Experience

Surgical procedures are performed at UNMH and the outpatient surgery center (OSIS). The surgical experience at UNM is, in our opinion, unrivalled. With two attendings per resident, the surgical volume is immense. Our residents are routinely in the top 10% of residency programs nationwide in terms of case numbers.

Inpatient Services

The teaching service at UNM Hospital is under the supervision of 10 board-certified otolaryngologists. The subspecialty areas represented include head and neck surgery, laryngology/voice disorders, otology/neurotology, pediatric otolaryngology, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as general otolaryngology/rhinology. The resident team, under the direction of the chief resident and attending staff, rounds on and cares for all inpatients and consults on the otolaryngology service.

UNMH is a busy tertiary care hospital and the provider of choice for most complicated otolaryngology problems for the entire state. Collectively, the attending cadre represents the largest group of otolaryngologists in the state and almost all of the fellowship trained sub-specialists. The referral base for the otolaryngology service is far and wide, stretching from Southwest Texas to Southern Colorado to Eastern Arizona. UNMH is a level one trauma center providing ample experience in this realm. The UNM Cancer Center is also an NCI designated institution that provides fantastic support for our head and neck patients.

Outpatient Services

The main otolaryngology clinic is housed at UNMH in the ambulatory care center. There are seven exam rooms with two surgical microscopes. All rooms are fully equipped for flexible endoscopy and minor procedures. Speech pathology with videostroboscopy has a room in the clinic and is present four days per week. There is one audiology sound booth in the clinic, two sound booths on another floor of the hospital and video electronystagmography capabilities five days per week.

There is a second otolaryngology clinic located a short drive from UNMH in the Northeast Heights. This clinic has six fully equipped exam rooms, three microscopes, two audiology sound booths, a vestibular lab with IR video ENG and platform posturography, and speech pathology with videostroboscopy. There is also a facial analysis station for cosmetic surgical consultations and hearing aid fitting services.

There are opportunities in the PGY-4 and PGY-5 years to work with local doctors in the community who specialize in high-volume facial plastic surgery and otologic surgery. This gives upper level residents flexibility to acquire subspecialty specific skills prior to fellowship and also gain familiarity with a private otolaryngology practice.


Friday mornings are wholly reserved for didactic teaching and educational conferences. No clinical activity is scheduled during this time, and attendance on the part of the attendings and residents is mandatory. Additional education time is reserved on Wednesday afternoons and residents are released from clinical activities in order to attend. Conferences held during these educational times occur on a rotating basis and include:

  • Interesting Case Conference:

    On Friday mornings, housestaff and faculty gather to discuss interesting cases from the inpatient services. The emphasis is on diagnostic and management issues and incorporates a strong evidence-based approach by utilizing web-based databases in real time.

  • Grand Rounds:

    Residents and attendings give grand rounds on a rotating basis. Local experts and national speakers are also invited to give talks on occasion.

  • Core Curriculum:

    This conference emphasizes education by reviewing either textbooks, COCLIA(Comprehensive Otolaryngologic Curriculum Learning through Interactive Approach), SIPACS or other available educational material. Faculty sub-specialists participate in the discussions which are led by the residents.

  • Morbidity and Morality/Patient Safety Conference:

    Every two weeks, housestaff and attendings participate in this conference which includes interesting cases, deaths, and unusual diagnoses.

  • Head and Neck Tumor Board:

    Oncology patients are discussed in this multi-disciplinary setting with Hematology-Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Dentistry, Pathology, Radiology and other involved sub-specialties. Patients are presented by residents and attendings.

  • Systems-Based Practice Seminars:

    A series of interactive seminars incorporating the business of medicine and the functioning of the practitioner and patient within the context of the greater medical system. Topics include billing and reimbursement, contracting, managing personal and professional finances, applying for a job and a variety of others.

  • Ethics:

    The UNM Health Sciences Center hosts a bi-monthly ethics seminar series for all residents. Topics have included “end of life” issues, physician assisted suicide, ethics of genetic testing, professionalism and a variety of other topics.

  • Clinical Basics Lecture Series:

    This series of lectures is given every July-August and is designed to introduce new residents to the "must-know" information of the specialty. Emphasis is placed on emergency procedures and patient evaluation.

  • Pathology:

    Residents and attending spend this conference with a staff pathologist reviewing normal histology, histopathology, and recent cases from the service.

  • Temporal Bone Lab:

    Residents drill temporal bones from our ample supply. Our neurotologist or other qualified attending leads the drilling. There are currently three stations with plans to expand to six.

  • Journal Club:

    This monthly conference is led by an attending who picks the articles and topic. The conference is occasionally held at a local restaurant and always encourages lively discussion.