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Department of Otolaryngology continues to expand

Bailey and Discolo

Two new faculty physicians have recently come aboard the fast-growing Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Traci Bailey, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology—head and neck surgery, joined the department in August. She comes to IU School of Medicine from Loma Linda University in Southern California, where Bailey completed a fellowship in head and neck surgical oncology and reconstruction earlier this year as well as her residency in 2019.

Christopher Discolo, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology—head and neck surgery, joined the department in September after spending nearly 12 years at the Medical University of South Carolina. He specializes in pediatric otolaryngology and trained at the Cleveland Clinic.

Over the past two years, the department has added six physicians—with strong research backgrounds—and two scientists as faculty members. The department has also been growing its clinical presence, with plans to hire a total of 12 advanced practice providers in 2020.

Part of Indiana University Health Medical Center, the Department of Otolaryngology is nationally ranked as the 40th best hospital system for Ear, Nose and Throat Care, according to the U.S. News and World Report 2020-21 Best Hospitals Rankings. It’s the highest ranked adult specialty at IU Health and No. 1 in ENT Care in Indiana.

“What I would like to see, hopefully in a decade, is that our department at IU School of Medicine is nationally recognized as a destination center for complex care and a top tier training program with depth and breadth across all subspecialty areas,” said department chair Jonathan Y. Ting, MD, MS, MBA, “and I believe that we can do that in a way that we’re prioritizing science and diversity in our workforce and our trainees.”

We spoke with the pair to learn more about their background in otolaryngology and their interest in IU School of Medicine.


Traci Bailey, MD

Why did you choose the field of otolaryngology?

I chose otolaryngology for a few reasons. I really liked that the field is about 50% clinic-based and 50% surgery-based. It gives an opportunity to have continuity with patients that have non-surgical diagnoses while still getting to operate a few days a week. I was also drawn to the breadth of patients and backgrounds that we take care of; in any one day you can be seeing a child with sleep apnea, an adult with nasal obstruction and a patient with a newly diagnosed head and neck cancer. It’s a nice variety while still being subspecialized. I also love the anatomy of the area and the types of surgeries that we do in our field which was the initial appeal for me. The cases that we do are elegant in an area with complex anatomy.

What drew you to IU School of Medicine?

We made the move to Indiana from California after my significant other matched here for his Vascular and Interventional Radiology Fellowship. I was particularly drawn to IU for its strong academic presence in this region. They are leaders in the treatments for cancer with multiple ongoing clinical trials and that is very exciting to be a part of.

What is your otolaryngology specialty? What made you interested in it?

My specialty within otolaryngology is head and neck cancer with an emphasis on endocrine surgery. I have always felt a connection to our cancer patients with a strong desire to help them throughout their treatment plan. I made the decision to pursue further training in head and heck oncology as a resident while participating in the surgical management and post-operative care of patients undergoing large cancer resections with complex reconstructions. It was very rewarding to participate in their care and to be involved with their cancer treatment. My love of endocrine surgery also came during my training. I trained at a high-volume thyroid/parathyroid center for both my residency and my fellowship and these surgeries in particular interested me.

What are other clinical or research interests of yours?

I am interested in research regarding thyroid cancers and thyroid disease. I am also interested in clinical research regarding thyroid and parathyroid surgery and the post-operative management of these patients, including cost-effectiveness in surgery as well as patient outcomes.


Christopher Discolo, MD

Why did you choose the field of otolaryngology?

I chose otolaryngology because of the unique ways that illness affects the head and neck region. Otolaryngologists treat conditions that impact how patients interact with the world around them. I also loved the diversity of the surgical procedures that are contained within otolaryngology.

What drew you to IU School of Medicine?

Riley Hospital for Children is one of the best facilities in the country, and I was very excited to have the chance to be a part of that environment. The Department of Otolaryngology at IU School of Medicine is a world-class collection of health care providers, and I am honored to become a part of that group as well. Lastly, I have been involved in international surgical mission work for the last 10 years. The international program at IU is widely recognized as one of the most successful undertakings of its kind. I hope to contribute significantly to this program over the next several years.

What is your otolaryngology specialty? What made you interested in it?

I practice pediatric otolaryngology. I was drawn to this field for a couple of reasons. In my opinion, providing medical care for a child is one of the most rewarding things a physician can do. Furthermore, otolaryngology is a very diverse specialty. Practicing pediatric otolaryngology allows me to practice the breadth of my specialty and allows me to continue to use all the skills I gained in training.

What are other clinical or research interests of yours?

I am passionate about caring for children with cleft and craniofacial differences. I have gained significant experience in distraction osteogenesis and find this one of the most rewarding procedures to perform. I also hope to make a lasting impact internationally through the global health programs at IU.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Ben Middelkamp

Ben Middelkamp is a communications manager for the Department of Neurology, Department of Neurological Surgery and Stark Neurosciences Research Institute at Indiana University School of Medicine. Before joining the Office of Strategic Communications in December 2019, Ben spent nearly six years as a newspaper reporter in two Indiana cities. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Convergent Journalism from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2014. Ben enjoys translating his background in journalism to the communications and marketing needs of the school and its physicians and researchers.