Newswise — Dr. P. Ashley Wackym, professor and founding chair of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, has been selected by the Prosper Ménière Society as its 2023 Gold Medal Award recipient. The Gold Medal Award, which has recognized groundbreaking, renowned individuals in the field of neurotology and otolaryngology, is given to a member of the academic community who has furthered the goals of the society through “research excellence, scientific innovation, and far-reaching contributions to the investigation of inner ear disorders.” 

“Dr. Wackym is a model physician-scientist, known for innovation in otolaryngology and neurotology, who has changed the lives of his patients,” says Amy P. Murtha, MD, dean, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “His leadership in the education of our students and residents, and his exceptional skills are most deserving of the Gold Medal Award.”

“I am truly honored and flattered to have been selected for this award,” says Dr. Wackym, who is also a Chancellor Scholar at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “It is humbling to be counted among individuals I hold in great esteem in my field, from my own fellowship mentor, Dr. Brian McCabe, and Dr. Lloyd Minor, the dean of Stanford University School of Medicine, to the man widely considered the ‘Father of Neurotology,’ Dr. William House. It is a privilege to be part of this great community.”

A member of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School faculty since 2016, Dr. Wackym was the first neurotologist in the world to perform Gamma Knife radiosurgery and is one of the most experienced cochlear implant, superior semicircular canal dehiscence, and skull base tumor surgeons and neurotologists in the United States.

In addition to his clinical expertise, Dr. Wackym has broad research interests in the areas of gravitational receptor test device development and in cognitive dysfunction and recovery following surgical repair of third window syndrome. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts, as well as many other works in the field, including serving as senior editor for Ballenger's Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, and his research has been supported for more than two decades by the National Institutes of Health and other foundations. He has also served as a senior and neurotology examiner for the American Board of Otolaryngology and on numerous editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals, including Otology & Neurotology, Audiology and Neurotology, Acta Oto-Laryngologica (Stockh), Auris Nasus Larynx, The Journal of International Advanced Otology, and Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology.

Prior to joining Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. Wackym served for seven years as the vice president of research for Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon, and for more than a decade prior to that as the John C. Koss Professor and Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin. A graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, he completed his internship, research fellowship and residency training at the UCLA School of Medicine and a clinical fellowship in neurotology and skull base surgery at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Wackym will receive the Gold Medal Award at the Prosper Ménière Society’s International Symposium on Inner Ear Disorders, March 11-18, in Austria, where he will also present three sessions, each focused on “third window syndrome”/superior semicircular canal dehiscence.

Founded in 1981, the Prosper Ménière Society aims to promote the academic dissemination and discussion of basic and clinical research data on Ménière disease and all aspects of inner ear dysfunction, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment.