Application Process

The UAMS Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery participates in the Electronic Residency Application System and the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP Match) as developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Applications for a position in our residency program are accepted only through ERAS. The contact information for ERAS is as follows:

  • For U.S. Graduates: Contact your designated Dean’s Office
  • For International Medical Graduates: Contact the ECFMG at (215) 386-5900
  • For Canadian Graduates: Contact CARMS at (613) 237-0075
  • ERAS Web Page Link

We receive approximately 250 completed applications each year. After these are reviewed, invitations to interview are issued to those candidates who seem to be the most competitive on the basis of the application material. Candidates are considered based on academic performance, USMLE scores, honors and awards, letters of recommendation, research, volunteerism and work experience, and a well-rounded personal life. The interview is useful to match personalities and interests of candidates with our program. We will interview on two dates to be determined later.

We welcome off-campus students to take a senior elective at UAMS, but an elective is not required for selection to the residency program and does not necessarily improve one’s chances.

Applicants must apply in the Fall prior to the beginning of their first post-graduate year (PGY1). Please see ERAS for application deadlines.  All five PGY years are completed in Otolaryngology.

Policy regarding specific recruitment criteria is as follows:

Specific Recruitment Criteria

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery uses the following criteria to evaluate all residency applicants in a similar manner. We value well rounded individuals and do not have a minimum threshold for any of the criteria, including USMLE Step scores.  All applications received by our program through ERAS are reviewed and scored by the Resident Applicant Selection Committee after which invitations to interview are extended.

  1. Class Rank and Medical School Performance Evaluation (Dean’s letter)
  2. USMLE Step 1 and 2 Scores
  3. AOA Status
  4. Letters of Recommendation
  5. Honors in Surgery and/or Otolaryngology Clerkships
  6. Participation in Research
  7. Publications as First Author
  8. Publications as Second Author
  9. Participation and leadership in extracurricular activities, philanthropy, and volunteerism
  10. Foreign Medical Students must be ECFMG Certified Indefinitely
  11. Foreign Medical Students are accepted on J-1 and H-1 Visas
  12. Application deadline: Please see ERAS for application.  Applications received after the deadline will not be reviewed.
  13. Applicants participating in an “away rotation” with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery are not guaranteed the following:
    • An interview with our residency program.
    • An appointment to see the Department Chairman or any other faculty.
    • A recommendation letter from the Department Chairman, faculty, residents or staff.

Applicants who are invited for an interview will be personally evaluated by the faculty and the final selections for the residency positions will be made at that time.

The UAMS Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery strongly discourages medical student rotations with our residency program after letters of invitation to interview have been sent out.

The residency program is led by Abby Nolder, M.D.  Her office is located at 4301 W. Markham, Slot 543, Little Rock, AR 72205.    Stacey Thompson is the residency coordinator and she is located at 4301 W. Markham, Slot 543 Little Rock, AR 72205.  Her phone number is (501) 603-1214.

The information that follows offers an overview of our program, the University, and the Little Rock area.

Residency Training

The Otolaryngology Residency Program at Arkansas is as broad in scope as any offered in the country. We are currently operating a 3-3-3-3 program, with a total of twelve residents in the PGY 2-5 years in Otolaryngology and a total of three residents in the PGY 1 year in Otolaryngology, thus making all five years categorical. Residents move to a new clinical rotation every one to two months, with one resident on research. Comprehensive clinical programs are offered in the areas of

  • Head and Neck Oncology
  • Otology/Neurotology
  • Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Pediatric Otolaryngology
  • Laser Therapy and Surgery
  • Skull Base Surgery
  • Rhinology
  • Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery
  • Maxillofacial Trauma
  • Voice & Swallowing
  • Allergy
  • General ENT
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Geriatric Otolaryngology
  • Vascular Malformations
  • Head and Neck Endocrinology

The residency program in otolaryngology provides residents with education in comprehensive medical and surgical care of patients with diseases and disorders that affect the ears, the upper respiratory and upper alimentary systems, and related structures of the head and neck. It includes core knowledge, skills, and understanding of the basic medical sciences relevant to the head and neck; the upper respiratory and upper alimentary systems; endocrinology; neurology; and the communication sciences, including knowledge of audiology, speech pathology, and audiologic and speech rehabilitation.  The educational program also includes the clinical aspects of diagnosis and medical and/or surgical therapy for prevention/treatment of diseases, neoplasms, deformities, disorders, and/or injuries of the ear, the upper respiratory and upper alimentary systems, the face, the jaw, and other head and neck systems as well as all aspects of head and neck oncology, and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Residents are closely supervised in all aspects of training. One of the strongest points of our program is the one-on-one resident teaching that our staff-to-resident ratio allows. Our staff firmly believes in the philosophy that residents should not learn by trial and error, but from the staff’s experience. Since the training of the staff is varied, the residents are exposed to several ways of approaching any situation.

All residents are required to attend departmental didactic conferences, which consist of at least three hours of teaching each week. The Core Curriculum Conference, Morbidity and Mortality Conference, and the Head & Neck Tumor Conference each comprise one hour of training each week. Journal Club and the Grand Rounds Conference are held monthly. A Basic Science review course is held weekly during the summer months. A monthly temporal bone course is also held throughout the majority of the year. In addition, the temporal bone dissection laboratory is maintained for both supervised and independent dissection to help residents improve their skill in otology. An annual course is provided every spring with alternating topics between allergy with practical applications and rhinology with cadaver dissections.

Residents are also required to participate in the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Home Study Course during their PGY-2 year and, during their PGY-3 though PGY-5 years, they are allowed to choose a study course of their liking in preparation for the Otolaryngology In-Service exam that is taken every spring. Beginning in December of each year a 3-month intensive in-service exam review is offered to the otolaryngology resident. This review is guided by the Program Director along with faculty participation. All graduates who have trained in the department since 1974 have passed their Otolaryngology Boards.

In addition to these regularly scheduled conferences, our residents attend the annual meetings of the Arkansas Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, which feature distinguished guest speakers from around the country. Residents also attend pertinent local continuing education conferences in addition to at least two national otolaryngology meetings or courses.

Each resident is expected to complete a research project in each of the last four years of otolaryngology training, or design and complete a single extended research project throughout the five years. PGY-2 residents are expected to participate in and complete a quality improvement project mentored by an otolaryngology faculty member.  An annual Resident Research Day is held for presentation of the research results, and awards are given to the top two projects. Innovative research is encouraged.

The PGY-1 resident will complete rotations in the following manner:

  • 3 months general surgery covering:
    • 1 in Pediatric Surgery
    • 1 in General Surgery
    • 1 in Surgical Intensive Care Unit
  • 3 months covering:
    • Anesthesia
    • Neuroradiology
    • Ophthalmology
  • 6 months of ENT
    • 1 month of General Otolaryngology
    • 2 months of Head and Neck
    • 3 months of Pediatric Otolaryngology

The second through fifth year residents will actively participate in the outpatient and inpatient care of otolaryngology patients at the three teaching sites: UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the VA Medical Center. Residents are provided faculty supervision and progressive responsibilities in the clinics and operating rooms.  Research months are provided for the PGY 2- 5 years. z

Residency Divisions


The division of otology/neurotology presently offers complete service to the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and the UAMS Medical Center. This division is growing rapidly and currently handles 200 to 250 major cases a year.

The academic goal of this division is to provide comprehensive teaching in medical and surgical management of diseases of the ear through one-on-one participation with a fellowship-trained otologist/neurotologist.

The division is supported by audiology personnel at each hospital. A state-of-the-art Hearing and Balance Center equipped with the latest electrodiagnostic equipment is available, including auditory brainstem response monitoring, electroneuronography, electrocochleography, electronystagmography, and otoacoustic emission monitoring. A cochlear implant team has been established at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Vestibular rehabilitation, including platform testing and therapy, is available for the evaluation and treatment of the dizzy patient.

An otology rotation is provided to PGY4 and PGY5 residents, which emphasizes pre- and post-operative management of ear diseases as well as supervised surgery. All aspects of otology and neurotology are encompassed including pediatric, skull base, and vestibular pathology.

Training is emphasized with a state-of-the-art temporal bone lab, which is equipped with a total of 12 stations, including microscopes, drills, and video monitoring. An organized temporal bone lab session is held once a month, with additional or individual sessions held by request.

Research is encouraged and equal emphasis is placed on clinical and basic science research. An ongoing computerized otologic surgery database facilitates clinical research, and an animal sound booth and ABR are available for basic science work.

Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology

Continuing excellence in pediatric otolaryngology in clinical care, teaching, and research based on one of the most complete programs in the country is the goal of our division at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH).

The division of pediatric otolaryngology handles all aspects of pediatric otolaryngology including tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, otitis media, craniofacial anomalies, facial plastic surgery, allergy, voice and swallowing, reconstructive surgery, sinus surgery, head and neck surgery, cleft lip and palate, vascular anomalies, and airway procedures. Junior residents spend approximately half their time in the clinic and half in the operating room. The chief resident predominantly operates on upper level cases.

The division is supported by comprehensive services in audiology, pediatric dentistry, speech and language pathology, and all other pediatric specialties.

Head and Neck Surgery

The Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at UAMS takes pride in its long-standing tradition of excellence in head and neck oncologic surgery. Three full-time fellowship-trained faculty devote their time to the management of head and neck tumors. There is a large referral base from not only the entire state of Arkansas, but also from adjacent states as well as international referrals. All aspects of oncologic resection, including skull base resections and various reconstructive techniques, such as microvascular free-flaps, are well represented. The residents are actively involved in the comprehensive management of patients with head and neck tumors throughout their residency training. A multidisciplinary approach to the management of head and neck tumors is modeled by excellent collaboration with other departments including plastic and reconstructive surgery, neurosurgery, radiation oncology, and medical oncology.

Laser Therapy and Vascular Malformation Surgery

Arkansas has become world-renowned in vascular malformation surgery. Lasers are utilized in all aspects of otolaryngic surgery, but our program has grown far beyond standard academic laser surgery. Cutting-edge work, primarily by our physicians at ACH, has set new standards for treatment of vascular lesions, vascular anomalies, and hemangiomas. We have a comprehensive team for management of these difficult cases, and we treat lesions other physicians in the world would not consider treating. We are also among the world leaders in research to find the cause and cure of hemangiomas.

We offer a full range treatment of elective procedures with lasers including skin resurfacing, treatment of proliferative and non-proliferative vascular lesions, telangiectasia, and other cosmetic facial procedures.

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Due to the extensive amount of trauma and oncologic work done at UAMS, we perform a great deal of reconstructive work. This is coordinated closely with several specialties, including ophthalmology, dermatology, general surgery, plastic surgery, and emergency facilities at all three locations (ACH, UAMS Medical Center and VA). In addition, the Moh’s chemosurgery service at UAMS provides a large population requiring reconstruction and flaps.

An area of expertise developed at ACH provides comprehensive reconstruction in conjunction with the cleft program to include full-cleft lip, cleft palate, and nasal repair. Microtia repair for ear abnormalities is also of special interest in children.

Voice and Swallowing Center

The Voice and Swallowing Center at UAMS is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of voice and swallowing disorders. The Center also strives to advance knowledge and investigate new treatments of these disorders through research and education. The Voice and Swallowing team includes fellowship trained doctors, speech pathologists, nurses, state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technology and the resources of the UAMS Medical Center to offer comprehensive and complete care of the voice and swallowing systems.


Research in the Department of Otolaryngology is cross-disciplinary in nature and addresses questions in both clinical and basic science. The long-term goal of the research department is to teach residents the scientific method with a high degree of scientific rigor. Because of this, external funding can be obtained, further increasing the scope and quality of the program. We have been successful in obtaining research support from the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the National Science Foundation, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, NASA, several private foundations, and private industry. Research results are presented on the national and international stage and published in peer-reviewed clinical and basic science journals.

Our internationally regarded clinical laser program has given rise to a number of research projects designed to elucidate the mechanisms inherent in laser treatment of vascular and pigmented lesions.

In the Biomedical Laser Research Laboratory, studies in laser-tissue interactions are underway regarding physical events such as heat transfer, acoustic and light propagation, tissue shrinkage, desiccation and ablation. Studies on high-temperature hyperthermia, cell survival, heat-shock protein expression, genetic mutations, viral lesion ablation, and protein denaturation are also being pursued.

Photothermal research is being performed to measure it’s effect on tumor growth and suppression, along with other applications. Our department has received major grants from NIH, Department of Defense and NCI to study photothermal therapy.

A variety of research opportunities are also available at ACH. Ongoing projects include universal hearing screening related to otoacoustic emissions, novel laser effects of papilloma, novel treatment of otitis media with CO2 laser effusion, and post-operative pain in patients undergoing tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

Our cochlear implant program, one of the major implant programs in the country, has been funded via several mechanisms through collaborations with the Department of Neurobiology. We are currently conducting funded research in the transcranial magnetic stimulation lab on mechanisms of tinnitus control and plan to transition to mechanisms of neuromodulation after cochlear implantation.

Teaching Hospitals

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has three major affiliated teaching hospitals – the UAMS Medical Center, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.

UAMS Medical Center

The UAMS Medical Center is an acute care facility built in 2009 and is the only tertiary care center in the State.  The present facility replaced the original 52-year-old University Hospital. Outpatients are seen in the Outpatient Care Center and the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. The otolaryngology patient population on this campus shows a cross-section of all areas of otolaryngology problems. The Medical Center offers strong training in trauma and reconstruction.

The Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute provides sophisticated evaluation, advanced treatment, and rehabilitation for cancer patients, and participates in the international research effort aimed at solving the cancer problem. In addition to our head and neck cancer clinic, dental, prosthetic and speech rehabilitation are among the many services offered by our department at the Cancer Institute.

In 2003, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute was opened as a 12-story, 218,000-square-foot facility that houses the Athletic and Aging Spine Center; the Departments of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; and other related neurosciences programs. The third floor of the institute is devoted to our department’s Hearing and Balance Center, ENT Clinic, Audiology, Voice and Swallowing Clinic, Allergy Clinic, and Facial Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. The sixth floor encompasses five high-tech research laboratories: a microsurgery lab, temporal bone lab, full-anatomy lab, computerized technology lab (for image-guided surgery), and a biomechanical lab.  The faculty, residents and administrative staff offices are located on the 9th floor.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), established in 1910, is among the top ten pediatric hospitals in the United States, treating patients from birth to 21-years of age. It accommodates approximately 70,000 inpatients and 200,000 outpatients per year. The hospital offers primary through tertiary care service in all aspects of pediatric medicine and pediatric subspecialties. The section of pediatric otolaryngology at ACH performs over 5,000 operative cases yearly. Over 16,000 patients are seen in the outpatient ENT Clinic.

Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System

The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (VA) ranks among the busiest VA hospitals in the country. This modern 1505-bed hospital serves a broad range of otolaryngology patients.

This service offers an outstanding experience for resident training and education. Residents rotate at the VA each year. There is full staff coverage in all subspecialties of otolaryngology, including otology/neurotology, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, head and neck oncologic surgery, endoscopic sinus surgery, and laryngology.  The outpatient clinics are busy and offer a large volume of patients with a variety of clinical problems.

The VA rotation offers the residents an opportunity to exercise some autonomy in managing clinical problems. In addition, the residents have the opportunity to develop some increased responsibilities in the operating room. This increased autonomy and responsibility is dependent on the resident’s experience and is done under close staff supervision.