Historical Review of UAB Otolaryngology

During the years from 1950 to the early 1980's clinical and educational aspects of otolaryngology were taught by a voluntary staff.  Dr. James J. Hicks and his brother, Dr. Julius N. Hicks, were responsible for the clinical and educational aspects of the program.
In 1982, Drs. J.J. Hicks and J.N. Hicks requested to become full-time members of the surgical faculty with otolaryngology a Division of the Department.  The decision to proceed along these lines required new space for academic offices, some research space, and an increase in operating time and clinic space which was available in the Russell Ambulatory Clinic.  The beginning financial support for the Division was provided from the Department of Surgery from the Office of the Chair. 
The first non-voluntary, full-time Director of the Division of Otolaryngology was Dr. James J. Hicks, appointed by Dr. Arnold G. Diethelm in 1982.  Dr. J.J. Hicks was born in Washington, D.C., in 1920, and died 85 years later in 2005, in Birmingham.  Dr. Hicks' early years were in Enterprise, and he graduated from Emory University in 1940.  Dr. Hicks graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1944.  Surgical internship was at Southern Pacific Hospital in San Francisco and subsequent training in otolaryngology at the Jefferson Hillman Hospital with Dr. Moody and Dr. Fisher.  After serving in the armed services and completing his residency training, Dr. Hicks became Director of the otolaryngology residency program in the 1960s during Dr. Lyons' tenure as Chair of the Department.  He held this position until 1985 when he voluntarily stepped aside as Division Director at age 65. 
medical center
Dr. Julius N. Hicks was born in Enterprise in 1929, and died in Birmingham in 2009.  Dr. J.N. Hicks graduated from Duke University in 1949 and medical school in 1953.  His internship and residency training were in otolaryngology.  In 1982, as mentioned above, he joined the faculty as Professor of Surgery and in 1985, became Director of the Division.  Dr. J.N. Hicks was appointed to the James J. Hicks Chair of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery in 1992.  During the next 15 years, Dr. J.N. Hicks was an active Emeritus Professor of the Division and the Department of Surgery until his death in 2009. 
Rapid Expansion of the Division under Dr. Glenn Peters
Dr. Glenn E. Peters followed Dr. J.N. Hicks as Division Director.  Dr. Peters, born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1954, received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1976, from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA, and his M.D. from the same university in New Orleans in 1980 (Alpha Omega Alpha).  He received his internship in general surgery at the University of Alabama from 1980 to 1981, and was a resident in general surgery from 1981 to 1982.  Dr. Peters subsequently received training in otolaryngology under Dr. J.N. Hicks from 1982 to 1984, and from 1986 to 1987, was a Fellow in Head and Neck Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution.  Dr. Peters returned to the Department of Surgery and the Division of Otolaryngology in 1987, and began an active clinical practice in otolaryngology with a special interest in head and neck surgery.  Dr. Peters was appointed Professor and Director of the Division of Otolaryngology in 1992, by Dr. Diethelm.  In 1994, he was named the John S. Odess Professor of Otolaryngology.  Dr. Odess, a native of West Blocton, AL and a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Medical School, was a clinical otolaryngologist on the volunteer faculty for many years at the Medical College of Alabama.  Dr. Odess retired from practice in 1981, and established the John S. Odess Chair in Otolaryngology in 1989.  During the late 1990s, Dr. Peters expanded his clinical interest in head and neck oncologic surgery to the surgical treatment of thyroid and parathyroid disease including the minimally invasive approach.  Dr. Peters methodically added new faculty to enhance the clinical programs and expanded the rapidly growing field of otolaryngology, including clinical and laboratory research.  Dr. Peters published multiple clinical and scientific papers, abstracts, and book chapters in head and neck surgery including invited lectures.  In 2007, he was appointed Vice Chair representing the Department of Surgery and has served on many committees of the hospital and medical school. After stepping down in 2012 as Division Director, he became Chief of Staff at UAB Highlands Hospital.    
During the past 20 years, the Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery has progressed from a two surgeon Division to a ten surgeon Division with complete coverage of all aspects of clinical otolaryngology/head and neck surgery and full approval by the Residency Review Committee.  Three endowed chairs support the clinical and academic goals of Dr. Glenn Peters, the Division Director.  The total number of operations performed in 2009 ,was 3,663 including both inpatients and outpatients.  The consistent growth of the Division of Otolaryngology reflects the excellent leadership of Dr. Peters.