Rhinology & Anterior Skull Base Fellowship



Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Otolaryngology
675 N. St. Clair, Suite 15-200
Chicago, Illinois 60611




David B. Conley, MD


Robert C. Kern, MD - Otolaryngology
Stephen Magill, MD, PhD - Neurosurgery
James Chandler, MD - Neurosurgery
Stephanie Smith, MD - Otolaryngology
Bruce K. Tan, MD - Otolaryngology
Kevin C. Welch, MD - Otolaryngology


Through the Northwestern Rhinology & Anterior Skull Base Program, patients with disorders involving the paranasal sinuses and skull base receive care from subspecialized experts in a university-based, tertiary care setting. Conditions that are managed include chronic rhinosinusitis with and without polyps, benign and malignant extradural sinonasal tumors, and benign and malignant skull base neoplasms. Together with experts in Allergy/Immunology, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, and Neurosurgery, the Northwestern Rhinologists have treated a multitude of these disorders while maintaining one of the most long-standing fellowship programs.

The Northwestern Rhinology & Anterior Skull Base Program is also engaged in a variety of clinical and basic science studies to investigate why nasal and sinus diseases occur and to continually develop better ways of treatment. Much of this research sponsored by grants from the National Institutes of Health, as well as commercial sources of funding. This work has helped to maintain the Center's position at the forefront of care in the United States and internationally.


Our goal is to provide a broad-based fellowship experience in the clinical and research aspects of adult rhinology and skull base diseases designed to prepare the fellow with the necessary skills for a career in Rhinology and Skull Base Surgery. Training will include pre- and post-operative care of patients with benign and malignant rhinologic disease. Trainees will be accomplished in traditional and endoscopic surgical approaches to nasal and sinus disease including advanced frontal sinus dissection, including Draf approaches,  endoscopic skull base surgery, and orbital surgery. The fellow also has the opportunity to participate in the collaborative research of the Sinus and Allergy Center. The fellow will also be exposed to standard management of allergic disorders under the guidance of Northwestern University medical allergists in the Northwestern Sinus and Allergy Center. Fellows will receive a balanced clinical and operative experience that will establish an excellent foundation for performing all aspects of rhinology & skull base surgery.


Clinical Rotations:

The planned weekly schedule alternates in 2-month blocks, as shown below

Weekly Schedule:

Monday – Conley O.R. or Welch O.R.; Skull Base O.R. every 2nd and 4th Monday
Tuesday – Kern O.R. (skull base) or Tan O.R.; Clinic if no O.R. cases
Wednesday – Skull Base O.R. in AM; Academic Time in PM
Thursday – Kern O.R. or Conley O.R (at Cook County Hospital)
Friday – Welch O.R. or Smith O.R. or Tan O.R.

Research Responsibilities:

Abundant research opportunities are available. Dr. Tan serves as the primary liaison for research projects and initiatives. Much of this research is funded by active NIH grants. The fellow is also encouraged to attend the weekly research meeting of the Northwestern Sinus and Allergy center, held from 12:30-1:30 PM each Wednesday when not in the operating room. This conference features presentations of recent clinical and basic science research findings, proposals for future projects, and discussion of key articles via a journal club format. The fellow will be encouraged to develop proposals for areas of research focus under the direction of Drs. Tan, Conley, Welch, and Kern. Currently active areas of research include: (1) Outcomes measures of treatment of chronic sinusitis, (2) Basic science of chronic sinusitis (mucosal inflammation, innate immune responses/acquired immune responses), (3) Basic molecular research of olfaction, (4) Healthcare policy/economic research examining diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms in the management of chronic sinusitis.

The fellow is encouraged to present his/her work at the COSM and at the annual American Rhinologic Society meeting in September (fall) following completion of the training. It should be noted that the fellow may also be offered opportunities to author chapters and review articles where Drs Conley, Welch, Tan or Kern have been invited as senior author.

Diversity of Cases:

Fellows typically graduate with in excess of 300 surgical cases. These reflect a broad range techniques including primary FESS, revision FESS, complex frontal sinus surgery, extradural benign and malignant sinonasal tumor resection, intradural benign and malignant tumor resection, orbital surgery, and open/external sinus surgery (osteoplastic flap, open maxillectomy, etc. with our rhinologists and head & neck oncology faculty). For primary FESS and general otolaryngology cases, fellows will be expected to provide mentorship to residents training in the conduct of these procedures. The aim of this experience is to prepare fellows for a career in academic rhinology with an advanced, diverse skill set.

Call Schedule:

The fellow may be asked to participate in rhinologic cases that arise during on call hours.

Additional Information:

  1. Four presentations during the year at Departmental Grand Rounds (Typical topics: Allergic Fungal Sinusitis, Frontal Sinus disease: Medical and Surgical Management, Sinonasal Polyps, and Chronic Sinusitis: Evaluation, Management and Treatment Outcomes)

  2. Help proctor journal clubs in rhinology

  3. Participate in monthly Rhinology Conference under the direction of Dr. Welch

As a PGY-6 level, according to Northwestern University Graduate Medical Education guidelines. Full University Benefits including health are provided.


2022-2023: Tara Wu, MD - Los Angeles, Kaiser Permanente
2021-2022: Alexander Schneider, MD - Private Practice, Central DuPage Hospital
2020-2021: Derek Wu, MD - Kaiser Permanente
2019-2020 Kevin Hur, MD - Assistant Professor, USC
2018-2019 Jonathan Yip, MD - Toronto, Canada, University of Toronto
2017-2018 Jasper Shen, MD - Los Angeles, Kaiser Permanente
2016-2017 Nsangou Ghogomu, MD - Denver, Colorado
2015-2016 Kara Detwiller, MD - Associate Professor, Oregon Health Sciences University/VAMC
2014-2015 Christopher Thompson, MD - Head & Neck Associates of Orange County
2013-2014 Opeyemi Daramola, MD - Jefferson Valley, NY
2012-2013 Akaber Halawi, MD - Maryland ENT
2011-2012 Eric Meen, MD, FRCS - Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba
2010-2011 Randy Leung, MD, FRCS - Lecturer, University of Toronto
2009-2010 Bruce Tan, MD - Associate Professor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
2008-2009 Micah Hill, MD - Clinical Instructor, Stanford University
2007-2008 Aaron Pearlman, MD - Associate Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College
2006-2007 Dennis Chang, MD - Kaiser, Ontario, California


To enter the fellowship, trainees must be board-eligible or board certified in otolaryngology and able to obtain an Illinois Medical License.


Northwestern University participates in the SF Match program for Rhinology.


Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Otolaryngology
Attn: David B. Conley, MD (Fellowship Director)
[email protected]
675 N. St. Clair, Suite 15-200
Chicago, Illinois 60611