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UIHC ear, nose, and throat ranks in top 10

BY BRITTANY TREVICK | JULY 20, 2011 7:20 AM

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The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Otolaryngology Department was ranked fifth among more than 1,400 hospitals in the most recent edition of the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals report.

Nine other UIHC adult specialties and 10 pediatric specialties were also ranked, with ophthalmology and visual sciences coming in sixth and orthopedics and rehabilitation coming in 12th.

"It's quite the honor to have our department ranked among one of the best in the U.S.," said Camille Dunn, an assistant research scientist working in the cochlear implant program in otolaryngology.

The project looks at performances of pediatric and adult patients who have severe to profound hearing loss and use implanted devices that stimulate the auditory nerve to provide hearing.

Dunn thinks research such as this helped the department to receive the high ranking.

"I think what sets us apart is probably the level of research that we do," she said.

UIHC CEO Ken Kates also noted the cochlear implant project as an example of the cutting-edge research the department conducts.

The project, under the direction of Professor Bruce Gantz, the chairman of otolaryngology, is funded by a $10 million grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The research, among other things, focuses on why some people benefit more from the implant than others.

The department also conducts research in head and neck cancer, cleft palate, and genetics.
Since the Best Hospitals reports began, UIHC's ear, nose, and throat department has consistently been in the top 10, Kates said.

In the last report, otolaryngology was ranked fourth. Kates said it's unclear right now why the rating was decreased, because the report just came out and details about the results still need to be analyzed, but it's still a privilege to be ranked so high.

"It has a fabulous reputation not only here in Iowa but throughout the entire country," he said.

UIHC officials said the report also shows the facility provide excellent services to patients.

"These rankings confirm that the faculty and staff at UI Hospitals and Clinics provide patient care that rates among the best in the nation," said Jean Robillard, the UI vice president for Medical Affairs, in a press release.

U.S. News has ranked hospitals since 1990. According to its website, the company ranks specialties based on high-risk situations, such as performing surgery on an elderly person, and, for otolaryngology, hard data. This information can come from death rates but also the number of the patients who frequent the hospital.

Kates said no funding will come from the results of the report, but the report shows the department's success.

"It does appropriately recognize tremendous strengths in our critical care and research," he said.

To ensure the department maintains a high ranking, he said, UIHC officials will continue to invest in the faculty, the staff, and the facilities.

"To be ranked in the top five is incredibly impressive," he said. "It's a testament to the tremendous team we have here working so hard every day."


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