About our Neurotology Program

The USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Neurotology Fellowship program is a two-year ACGME-accredited educational program relating to the diagnosis and management of disorders of the temporal bone, lateral skull base, and related anatomical structures, as well as advanced diagnostic expertise and advanced medical and surgical management skills beyond those attained in otolaryngology – head and neck surgery residency.

The fellowship ensures that concentrated time is available for the neurotology fellows to develop advanced diagnostic expertise and advanced medical and surgical management skills for the care of diseases and disorders of the petrous apex, infratemporal fossa, internal auditory canals, cranial nerves, and lateral skull base, including the occipital bone, sphenoid bone, and temporal bone.

Our department is ranked in the top ten of NIH-funded research and our fellow will have the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research in the field of Otology and Neurotology. Fellows are expected to submit at least one abstract to a national meeting for oral presentation and one manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal during the course of their fellowship.

Rotation Facilities and Experiences

Keck Hospital of USC is the primary clinical site for the Neurotology Fellowship. Keck Hospital of USC was built in 1991 at the Keck School of Medicine. It is a 401-bed tertiary care hospital and one of the highest volume centers in the nation which provides a paramount opportunity for training.

The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery maintains an average census of 10-20 patients on the ward or in the intensive care unit. The faculty performs approximately 45 inpatient and outpatient procedures and evaluates approximately 200 non-emergency patients every week. The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital is an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center that was built in 1983 at the Keck School of Medicine. It is a large clinical and basic science research facility.

Program Faculty

Joni K. Doherty, MD, PhD

Neurotology Fellowship Program Director
Assistant Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology
Head and Neck Surgery

John S. Oghalai, MD

Chair and Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Leon J. Tiber and David S. Alpert Chair in Medicine

Janet Choi, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor Of Clinical Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Seiji Shibata, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Steven L. Giannotta, MD

Neurological Surgery – Chair and Professor of Neurological Surgery
Dr. Martin Weiss Chair in Neurological Surgery

Jonathan Russin, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
Assistant Surgical Director, USC Neurorestoration Center
Director, Cerebrovascular Surgery, Keck Hospital of USC Surgery

Surgical Training and Experiences

The spectrum of cases for neurotology fellowship training include:

  • All approaches for skull base tumor resection (including translabyrinthine, retrosigmoid, middle fossa, extended middle fossa, Kawase’s triangle, combined retrolabyrinthine/subtemporal approach, transotic, transcochlear, infracochlear, far lateral, Orbitocraniozygomatic, and Fisch types 1, 2 , and 3)
  • Translabyrinthine tumor resection with simultaneous cochlear implantation or bone conduction hearing device implantation
  • Temporal bone resection
  • Meningoencephalocele repair
  • Superior canal dehiscence repair

Other surgical cases that are primarily for resident training but which the neurotology fellow may assist with include:

  • Cochlear implantation
  • Atresia surgeries
  • Stapes surgeries
  • Tympanoplasties
  • Exostoses removal via canalplasty
  • Complicated chronic otitis media with cholesteatoma resection (both staged and single stage with ossiculoplasty)

In addition, we are accredited for auditory brainstem implantation (ABI) with resection of Neurofibromatosis type 2-related vestibular schwannomas (a.k.a., acoustic neuromas).

The program also offers the following electives:

  • Audiological testing, vestibular testing, cochlear implant evaluation, testing, and hearing device fitting at the USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology Audiology Department and at the USC Caruso Center for Childhood Communication.
  • One-month rotations through the outpatient clinics and operating rooms in Neurosurgery, with an emphasis on skull base clinics, Neurology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Physical Therapy. The fellow will also review patient films, pathology slides and observe attending read-out in Neuroradiology and Neuropathology.

Conferences and Didactics

In addition to the following conferences and didactic lectures, fellows will participate in the training and teaching of medical students and residents during the Neurotology rotation. The fellow is required by the program director to present at the otolaryngology resident didactics, resident case study presentations, the Neurotology skull base conferences, weekly grand rounds, and lead discussion at the Neurotology journal club.

  • Grand Rounds
  • Lateral Skull Base Conference
  • Multidisciplinary HNS Tumor Board
  • Otolaryngology Resident Didactics
  • Temporal bone dissection course
  • Otology and Neurotology Case presentation
  • Multidisciplinary Neuro Tumor Board
  • Otology and Neurotology lecture series
  • Auditory & Speech Rehabilitation Meeting
  • Cochlear Implant Meeting
  • Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Conference
  • Otolaryngology Quality Improvement Conference
  • Otology and Neurotology journal club


Applicants for the Neurotology Fellowship must have completed an ACGME-accredited Otolaryngology Residency.

To participate in the match, applicants must register with the San Francisco Match.

In order for your application to be considered, please apply by July 15th.

Please upload the following items into SF Match:

  • Current CV
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement (1 page or less)
  • USMLE scores

And please email a copy of In-training Exam scores to Kim Schultz (kimberley.schultz@med.usc.edu).

Interviews with program faculty are scheduled between August-September. Eligible applicants will be invited to interview.

Please email Program Administrator Kim Schultz (kimberley.schultz@med.usc.edu) with any questions.