medical centerDuring the years from 1950 to the early 1980s, clinical and educational aspects of otolaryngology were taught by a voluntary staff of community otolaryngologists. 

In 1982, Drs. J.J. Hicks and J.N. Hicks requested to become full-time members of the Surgery faculty, with Otolaryngology formalized as a Division of the Department of Surgery. The decision to proceed along these lines required new space for academic offices as well as research space, an increase in operating time, and clinic space, which was made available in the Russell Ambulatory Clinic.

The first 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, DC in 1920, and his early years were spent in Enterprise, AL. He graduated from Emory University in 1940 and received his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1944. He completed a surgical internship at Southern Pacific Hospital in San Francisco, CA, and subsequent training in otolaryngology at the Jefferson Hillman Hospital at UAB 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 of Surgery. Dr. Hicks held this position until 1985 at age 65. He died in 2009 in Birmingham, AL. 

Dr. Julius N. (Buddy) Hicks was born in Enterprise, AL in 1929. Dr. J.N. Hicks graduated from Duke University in 1949 and from medical school in 1953. His completed an internship and residency training at Harvard's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. In 1982, he joined the UAB faculty as Professor of Surgery, and in 1985 became Director of the Division, a position he held until 1992. Dr. J.N. Hicks was appointed to the James J. Hicks Chair of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery in 1992, and remained 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

PetersDr. Glenn E. Peters followed Dr. J.N. Hicks as Division Director in 1992. Dr. Peters, born in Baton Rouge, LA., in 1954, received his Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University in 1976, and his medical degree in 1980 (Alpha Omega Alpha). He completed an internship in General Surgery at the University of Alabama in 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, completed a fellowship in head & neck oncology and reconstructive surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Peters returned to the UAB 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 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 has 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 of 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.


Continued Growth & Move to Department Status Under Dr. Eben Rosenthal

Eben RosenthalDr. Eben L. Rosenthal followed Dr. Glenn Peters as Division Director in 2012. Dr. Rosenthal received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Haverford College in 1988, and his medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1994. He completed internships in General Surgery and Molecular & Cellular Biology in 1995 and his residency in Otolaryngology, also at the University of Michigan. He then completed a fellowship in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in 2001 at Oregon Health Sciences University. Dr. Rosenthal joined the UAB faculty in 2001 as an Assistant Professor of Surgery. He took on several leadership roles in the Department as well as across campus, becoming an Associate Scientist with the Comprehensive Cancer Center in February 2002, Co-Director of the UAB Imaging Core in April 2006, and Director of Clinical and Translational Research in February 2009. In addition to his strong research interests, he was appointed as the Julius N. Hicks Endowed Professor in September 2006, a position he held through January 2012, when he was appointed as the John S. Odess Professor of Surgery and Division Director. 

Dr. Rosenthal established his clinical practice in reconstructive surgery following salvage oncology surgery, becoming world renowned for his use of reconstructive flaps. His research interests focused on innovative uses of molecular imaging in the treatment of head and neck oncology. He established a bench laboratory to further his work with novel techniques of molecular imaging, funded by multiple federal and private foundation research awards. In 2010, he was awarded a prestigious R01 by the NIH/NCI to further his work on novel targets for head and neck cancer. In 2013, he opened a Phase I first-in-humans clinical trial evaluating the use of cetuximab-IRDye800 as an optical imaging agent to detect cancer during surgical procedures. 

Dr. Rosenthal's work as a researcher and reconstructive surgeon attracted talent to the Division of Otolaryngology from around the country. He recruited faculty members, residents, and trainees for his laboratory, and worked diligently to secure the Division's transition to becoming a Department within the School of Medicine. He stepped down as Division Director in July 2015 to take a position at Stanford University, three months before the transition was completed.


Thriving as a Department Under Dr. William R. Carroll

Bill Carroll WEBIn October 2015, the Division of Otolaryngology officially became its own department making it the 26th department in the UAB School of Medicine. Dr. William R. Carroll, a George W. Barber Jr. Professor, became the interim Chair of the new department, and accepted the role as permanent Chair in 2017. Dr. Carroll received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in 1984. He then completed an internship in general surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in 1986 and his residency in otolaryngology at the University of Michigan in 1990, continuing as a faculty member until 1994.  Dr. Carroll joined the UAB faculty in 1996 as associate professor with an interest in head and neck oncology. The head and neck oncology program rapidly grew to become a national leader in surgical volume. The UAB Head and neck Oncology Fellowship program re-opened in 2010 under Dr Carroll’s leadership. 

The Department of Otolaryngology is a thriving and rapidly growing department, dedicating itself to excellence in research, education and patient care. Since becoming its own department, the Department of Otolaryngology has achieved many accomplishments, including:

  • Growing the residency program to four residents per year.
  • Adding faculty members in laryngology, head and neck and neurotology
  • Recieving NIH Research Award - Dr. Bradford Woodworth.
  • Expanding lab-based and community research
  • Top three in the U.S. Hypoglossal Nerve Implant Program for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).
  • One of four programs in the U.S. for brain stem implant for hearing restoration.
  • Significant early work in robotics for head and neck.