The USC Voice Center Experience

The USC Voice Center consists of a multidisciplinary team of 3 fellowship trained laryngologists, as well as voice and dysphagia therapists. The entire field of voice-, airway- and swallow-related pathology is addressed, utilizing state-of-the-art equipment and techniques. The USC Voice Center aims to provide fellows with an excellent exposure to the full spectrum of voice, airway and swallowing disorders, and their medical and surgical management. Through bimonthly interdisciplinary voice and swallow rounds, clinic-based teaching, and progressive responsibility in the operating room based on individual ability, the fellows will receive a well-balanced academic experience. Additionally, they will learn to foster their teaching skills by supervising residents when appropriate, and participating in resident didactics. Fellows will be mentored by 3 laryngologists (Drs. Michael Johns III, Karla O’Dell, and Brenda Villegas, EdD, CCC-SLP) and will work with a team of therapists (led by Brenda Villegas, EdD, CCC-SLP) conducting voice and swallowing therapy.

Fellowship Goals and Objectives

The laryngology fellowship experience at The USC Voice Center is geared towards the development of competency in the diagnosis and treatment of voice, airway and swallowing disorders, and exposure to their multidisciplinary medical and surgical treatments. Fellows are expected to participate in the evaluation of patients in the outpatient setting for the purpose of learning the history taking and physical examination skills as they pertain to vocal disorders, and develop skills with videostobolaryngoscopy techniques and interpretation. Diagnostic skills are further challenged through monthly “Voice Rounds,” where the fellow will be responsible for presenting difficult voice cases from previous weeks, and expected to understand and convey all of the issues as they pertain to the diagnosis and treatment of the patients. Fellows also work in close conjunction with on-site speech-language pathologists and singing specialists to improve their understanding of the role of nonsurgical treatment and physical rehabilitation of the voice.

Fellows will perform numerous office-based procedures, including videostrobolaryngoscopy, transnasal esophagoscopy, transnasal bronchoscopy, laryngeal Botox injections, awake injection procedures including medialization laryngoplasty and therapeutic injections, laryngeal electromyography, and awake endolaryngeal laser procedures.

The operating experience will expose the fellow to endolaryngeal procedures (such as direct laryngoscopy, microsuspension laryngoscopy, phonomicrosurgery for benign and malignant lesions, and treatment of laryngeal and airway stenosis), laryngeal framework procedures, and major airway reconstruction. Fellows will learn the physiological and technical issues regarding these surgeries.

Following completion of the Laryngology Fellowship at the USC Voice Center, Fellows will:

  • have comprehensive knowledge of voice, airway and swallowing disorders;
  • be competent in the evaluation and treatment of patients with voice, airway and swallowing disorders;
  • be able to perform the full array of office-based procedures for voice disorders;
  • be skilled in endoscopic and open laryngeal, pharyngeal and airway surgical procedures in the operating room setting.


Fellows are expected to participate in new or ongoing research efforts. Research time is provided in the schedule. Currently, the USC Voice Center faculty is involved in many ongoing research projects, both clinical and laboratory-based. Fellows are expected to submit at least one abstract to a national meeting for oral presentation and one manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal.

Didactics and teaching

Fellows are expected to participate in the training and teaching of medical students and residents during the laryngology rotation. They will augment teaching at an affiliated hospital (Los Angeles County Hospital (LAC)). The fellow will help coordinate strobe rounds at LAC, lead at least one resident didactic quarterly, lead one journal club, and will give one Departmental Grand Rounds lecture during the year.

Length of fellowship

A 12-month fellowship will be offered to applicants who have successfully completed an otolaryngology residency and passed all 3 stages of the USMLE.

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Application information

Applications will be administered through the ALA using the NRMP match.
The application cycle opens annually in September. More information can be found at:
Applications, comprised of a letter of intent, a CV and 2-3 letters of recommendation, can be submitted starting September of each year. On-site interviews will be held from January through April.
Please send inquiries and applications to Michael Johns, MD at