Two female otolaryngologists making history: One of them is the College of Medicine’s dean | Ohio State College of Medicine

Two female otolaryngologists making history: One of them is the College of Medicine’s dean

Dean-Carol-BradfordIn early May, the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) presented Carol R. Bradford, MD, FACS, dean of The Ohio State University College of Medicine and vice president for Health Sciences at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center with the 2024 Margaret F. Butler Outstanding Mentor of Women in Head and Neck Surgery (HNS) Award.

“This award means a lot to me because it means that I have had a positive impact upon women in head and neck surgery,” Dr. Bradford says. “I am deeply honored and humbled by this recognition, which means a great deal to me.”

Dean Bradford works with countless others to make impactful discoveries that transform the health of our communities. She also focuses on promoting gender equity in head and neck surgery. The four physicians who nominated Bradford describe her as “a visionary, a prolific researcher, a true role model and an empathetic leader.”

These concise words capture Dean Bradford’s exemplary leadership of the College of Medicine. Her presence unites people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines in the relentless pursuit to address the most pressing challenges in the field. Dr. Bradford joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Otolaryngology in 1992, specializing in head and neck surgery. In 2009, she became the chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. In 2016, she was selected to serve as the inaugural executive vice dean for academic affairs. In 2009, she received the National Physician of the Year Award for Clinical Excellence from Castle Connolly. In 2012, Dean Bradford was elected as the first woman president of the American Head and Neck Society and in 2015, she was inducted into the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, in recognition of her academic achievements.

Colleagues describe Dean Bradford as bold and confident in the face of adversity and that the secret to Bradford’s resilience might involve the values she holds dear and teaches others. Many of her trainees describe Dean Bradford as loyal and caring towards each individual person. Bradford’s daughter also says that she saw this in her mother, “she always taught me to care about the other person and ask how they were doing and how I could support them first which has proved very fruitful in the rest of my life”.

In 2020, Bradford accepted the position of vice president for Health Sciences and dean of the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University. That same year, she was also named president of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, proving that women are not only able to achieve greatness in medicine but also thrive with significant responsibilities. Since Bradford’s appointment as dean, she has maintained gender equity in graduating M.D. classes, with 50% or more being female for the last 9 years, and she has supported women leaders in the College of Medicine, allowing 44.9% of all leadership positions being filled by women.

Recipients of this award demonstrate leadership in promoting gender diversity in the field of Head and Neck Surgery, as well as encouraging further training and mentorship of women leaders in the HNS specialty. Most of all, recipients are to exemplify the legacy of Margaret Butler, MD, the first woman chair of otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in the United States. In 1906, Butler was appointed Chair of Ear, Nose and Throat at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. She paved the way for future generations of female otolaryngologists when women in medicine seemed impossible. Similarly, Dr. Bradford paves the future for young women in medicine by her leadership and exemplary fortitude and compassion.

Visit the AHNS to view the Tribute Video. You can also learn more about Bradford and offer congratulations on LinkedIn.