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Departmental Spotlight

Ayde Trejo says she learned from scratch how to organize and ultimately get on the road to approval for the new residency program for Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery as well as approval of fellowships in otolaryngology and facial plastics. As the department’s academic coordinator, she is the kind of detailed professional you want on the case because of her ability to uncover all the regulations, stipulations and even accommodations for successful medical teaching programs. “I want to know everything I can and how we can get there efficiently,” Trejo said, adding the constant contact with residents new to the Texas Medical Center and Houston Methodist can get to be a lot, but she also realizes that she is the first line of contact.
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Ayde Trejo
“I want to be available for all the nitty gritty questions they may have and whenever they need help. It may be a problem as simple as finding a badge, their coat or that a printer isn’t working, but it may also be how the system works and how to help a patient.” As a former recruit for the FBI and now an educator who has worked with students from elementary school age through medical school, she can unearth details that make an applicant different and unique. She knows how hard the candidates have worked to get to the point where they can apply, and she wants to help them stand out, if she can. “Anything I can help with to make the process go smoother – not only for the applicants but for my faculty who will be reviewing hundreds of applications.” “When I was really young, my dream was to be in criminal justice. I like research and want to find out everything and get to the bottom of things,” she remembers. Then, her mother got sick, and she was at Houston Methodist with her off and on. “Everyone was so nice. I thought ‘Wow, I want to work here.’” Trejo was at her mother’s treatment appointment at Houston Methodist when she interviewed for her first job at the Texas Medical Center. Unfortunately, she would lose her mom to ovarian cancer a few years later, but she now believes that experience added to her understanding about patient care.
“A lot of things connect when you see it from all sides. You have to know why some things happen and how the system works,” she said. “Graduate medical education is more complicated because there are patients involved.” she said. “So, you have to know the patient side as well as the academic side.” She recounts that her experience in education started when she was right out of high school and worked first in an elementary school. She moved from there to middle school and high school and eventually San Jacinto Junior College. She became an academic residency coordinator for Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in 2015 and moved on to Houston Methodist three years ago. As the longtime academic arm of Houston Methodist, Baylor had a large residency program, and she learned a lot from an established program. Approval of the new Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery residency program at Houston Methodist had to come from all directions — the ACGME, the hospital board, faculty, etc. The ACGME approval occurred after an in-depth evaluation of the educational curriculum, facilities, faculty, and surgical case complexity and volume. Although the Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery program and physicians have strong depth and experience from the department’s longtime experience as a training ground for residents from other institutions, it was a huge milestone to create the hospital’s own residency program.
“We were confident that we would get it. Our faculty have been training residents for decades. But it’s still a brand-new program and the paperwork is very detailed and specific. Had we fulfilled all the requirements, submitted all the correct paperwork and done it under the deadline?” She said it was a big day when she and Mas Takashima, MD, chair of the department, expected to hear about the program’s approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME.. She said it was quite a nerve-racking hour. She was refreshing the internet site and watching for approval when Dr. Takashima joined in and stood watching her computer with her, refreshing the page every few minutes. “We refreshed and refreshed. Then, finally we saw the approval.” “It was very exciting when we finally saw the official approval.” Currently, Trejo is hard at work with a very busy recruiting season and first-time Match Day participation for the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Houston Methodist. After the process is complete and Match Day is over, she said she will welcome feedback and assess how the process went. Methodist will add two Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery residents each year until the institution has a total of 10, while continuing to train residents from other institutions as well. "The support we get from Methodist is so motivating. We have great tools available at our fingertips,” she said, mentioning the Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education (MITIE) lab, a one-of-a-kind virtual hospital and hands-on clinical training facility. “I know how hard the candidates have worked to get to the point where they can apply. Then, I know how hard our faculty works to give them the best training. It makes sense for me to be working hard and smoothing things out where I can,” she added.