More than 3,000 head and neck surgeons came to New York City from around the globe for the IFHNOS World Congress. The Emerald Society Pipes and Drums from the New York City Police Department led the parade of the many nations taking part in the event.
Former President Bill Clinton officially opened the event as audience members, including MSK President Craig Thompson (far right) and Dr. Shah (far left), looked on.
Actor and producer Michael Douglas credited MSK head and neck oncologists with saving his life. In his keynote speech, he also vowed his support for creating a World Head and Neck Cancer Day, to be held July 27 each year. Mr. Douglas said this was the “right move to share and advance knowledge to the world by organizing educational activities each year on this day,” and added, “I wholeheartedly support this proclamation.”
Dr. Thompson spoke of the storied history of the MSK Head and Neck Surgery Service and how it continues to impact the rest of the world. “In the early decades of the 1900s, trainees came to Memorial Hospital to learn the latest techniques in head and neck surgery, returning to their own countries equipped with new skills and the ability to train others,” he said. “To this day, we are proud to host trainees from around the world to advance and disseminate new surgical approaches to treating head and neck cancers…. Many of our graduates are here today. We are incredibly proud of our graduates’ ability to be leaders of cancer centers and departments all over the world.”
CNN’s Dan Lothian and actress Jessica Tar hosted the opening ceremony. In addition to being masters of ceremonies, both Mr. Lothian and Ms. Tar shared their personal stories of battling head and neck cancer.
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones watches her husband, Mr. Douglas, deliver remarks to the gathered surgeons with Dr. Shah. Earlier in the program, Ms. Zeta-Jones thanked the doctors at MSK “for saving my husband’s life…. I think this is probably the first time that I’ve had the chance to publicly thank Dr. Shah for his commitment not just to my husband but the many other people’s lives he’s saved.”