The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) “prolific” and award-winning head of the Division of Otorhinolaryngology, Professor Johan Fagan, has become the first African recipient of the Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Public Service Award.
The award, conferred by the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF), acknowledges his contribution to the field of ear, nose and throat (ENT) services in developing nations.
Fagan said he is honoured and truly humbled by the recognition.
According to the AAO-HNSF, the award specifically honours a non-United States (US) otolaryngologist–head and neck surgeon whose achievements in the field have advanced the speciality.
“Dr Fagan has devoted much of his career to advancing ENT in Africa and developing countries around the world by creating awareness of global inequality of training opportunities and access to care,” the citation said.
Earlier this year his self-published Open Access Atlas of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Operative Surgery textbook scored double platinum status, clocking more than two million chapter downloads. His multi-authored online surgical textbook, known as the “Atlas”, is hosted on the UCT Vula webserver.
The Division of Otorhinolaryngology forms part of the Department of Surgery in UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences, and is based at Groote Schuur Hospital, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and New Somerset Hospital.
Fagan’s department hosts the only fellowships in head and neck surgery, rhinology and paediatric otolaryngology in sub-Saharan Africa. While at the helm, he has also developed freely available, high quality reference resources for ENT specialists, available on UCT’s Open Content and the Developing World ENT platforms.
“This award goes beyond academic credentials. It is recognition of my department and my contribution to promoting open-access education and improving access to specialist ear, nose and throat services in developing nations.”
Speaking to UCT News before receiving the award in New Orleans in the US on Sunday, 15 September, Fagan said he is thrilled to be the first academic in his field on the continent to be recognised by the foundation.
He hopes the recognition and his contribution to the field to date will highlight the importance of improving services and access to education and training in developing countries.
“This award goes beyond academic credentials. It is recognition of my department and my contribution to promoting open-access education and improving access to specialist ear, nose and throat services in developing countries,” he said.
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