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First class of ENT residents wraps up Year One

In 2022, the Houston Methodist Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery welcomed Franklin Wu and Kayla Powell as Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery residents in what was the first addition of a new ENT residency program to the Texas Medical Center in 50 years.
Franklin Wu, MD
Kayla Powell, MD
The department received ACGME approval in late January 2022 for two new residents each year for the next five years, thus creating the 2027 inaugural class. Program leaders received more than 70 applications, interviewed 20 and chose two. Powell comes to Houston Methodist from Indiana University School of Medicine and Wu from Keck School of Medicine, USC. "We could tell these were top-notch students," said Nadia Mohyuddin, MD, FACS, residency program director. The people and the culture at Houston Methodist were some of the things that drew Wu to the program. “I felt, even in the interview, very stress-free and like I could just have a nice conversation about anything with any of the people I was talking to. That was already just a great first impression of the program. And beyond that, the training here is just something that I'd heard about before. It's obviously got a bunch of well-trained attendings with a lot of teaching experience, too. So it also has that history and that experience but with the benefits of being a new program where we'd be able to also help set the culture and help kind of mold it a little bit as we go through the program, it had a little bit of everything going for it,” said Wu. “I do not have any direct ties to the Houston area but was lucky enough to have been connected to this program through faculty mentors from my home medical school ENT program, who had nothing but great things to say about the faculty at Methodist. They really made me excited to be a part of a program that was being ran by individuals who were leaders in the field and who had been helping train residents from surrounding programs for countless years. I was also enticed by the opportunity to have a seat at the table in a new program. Not only that, the exposure that I felt I would get to different cultures and subsets of people was undeniably enticing,” said Powell.
I love the idea of being the trailblazer. I think I have a personality that is well suited for that. I have good support at home. I feel I was uniquely qualified for this but also just in itself, I really was creating a new experience and new opportunities to meet new people.
Kayla Powell
Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery resident
Wu spent some childhood years in Round Rock, but Texas was a new experience for Powell. The diversity of Houston struck Powell. “Even being in Houston for such a short time, I have already interacted with people coming from such an array of different backgrounds; it has truly opened my eyes to the need to tailor patient care to the needs and understanding of the patient and to do everything you can to meet them where they’re at. I think the diversity that physicians in training are exposed to in the Houston area will undoubtedly make us more thoughtful surgeons and practitioners, regardless of where in the country we ultimately practice. It is an exciting and gratifying experience” she said. The doctors’ rotations during the five-year training program will include: Texas Children’s Hospital-West Campus where they will have an immersive experience in pediatric otolaryngology, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where the focus will be on head and neck cancer at the nation’s top-ranked hospital for cancer treatment and a leader in proton therapy research, and Memorial Hermann Hospital for level 1 trauma experience in both adult and pediatric population, and UTMB Galveston taking care of the adult prison population through the Texas Department of Corrections.
They also had the opportunity to work alongside residents on rotations from these same institutions as well as residents from Baylor College of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology. Residents also had the benefit of training at the Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education (MITIE). “This is a homegrown institutional collaboration within the Texas Medical Center,” Mohyuddin said. “This year has been amazing,” said Wu.
There's been a good amount of adjustment overall, but it's been a good experience. I’ve had a lot of support from everybody but especially from the residents, and that really helped me get acclimated to everything, helped me just kind of get into residency mode, learn how to be a resident, how to take care of patients, how to adjust to the pace and adjust to learning in a completely different format. I feel like I've been taught by everyone, and I learn more every day.
Franklin Wu
Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery resident
“I would say what's really been a highlight of my year has been some of my off-service rotations and just getting to know the hospital and Houston culture in general. Just being on the other side of things and realizing how interconnected ENT is with other specialties made me feel a sense of community within the hospital. I also genuinely enjoyed getting to know the residents and seeing friendly faces walk the hallways on a daily basis, and I think that interspecialty camaraderie sets such a nice precedent for a new residency program like ours,” added Powell. After completing their first year at Houston Methodist, the doctors offered some tips to any incoming residents. “Just keep pushing yourself and read a little bit every day,” said Wu. “Find a way to connect with your loved ones,” offered Powell. “A 10-minute call when you’re driving home is not only good for your relationships but for your peace of mind.”