Otolaryngology Residency Program

“You will develop dedication, expertise and compassion because of this unique training setting.”

Note: Please also see the Clinician-Scientist Training Program (CSTP) research residency track.


Niels Kokot, MD

Residency Program Director

USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

Niels Kokot, MD

Tamara Chambers, MD

Residency Program Associate Director

USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery


About the Residency Program

The USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery provides residents with education in the comprehensive evaluation and management of diseases and disorders of the ears, upper respiratory system, upper alimentary system, and related structures of the head and neck. Residents obtain graduated responsibility in accordance with their level of training, but always under direct supervision.

The educational program includes basic science, core knowledge, and clinical skills relevant to understanding the head and neck while highlighting the communicative and rehabilitative sciences, such as audiology, speech pathology and physical therapy. Residents will also gain fundamental knowledge of otolaryngologic allergy, endocrinology and neurology as they relate to the head and neck area.


To train safe, highly skilled surgeons who are confident and able to deliver care in all areas of otolaryngology and who are adequately prepared for the full spectrum of careers within the field.

To produce independent thinkers who thrive when working autonomously from an early stage in their training and who excel within an interdisciplinary healthcare model.

To create an environment of scientific investigation that equips trainees with the skills to conduct meaningful research and to pursue a research-oriented career if interested.

To cultivate compassionate and culturally sensitive physicians.

To train residents in the knowledge and commitment to patient safety, quality improvement, resource utilization, and patient satisfaction.

To develop residents as future leaders and educators.

To establish a training environment dedicated to a healthy work/life balance for residents and faculty.

Each year, our residency program receives over 300 applications for four Post-Graduate Year 1 (PGY1) positions. We review every application received through ERAS and offer interviews to approximately 40 prospective candidates. Selection for an interview is based on medical school transcripts, research experience, and letters of recommendation, in addition to a competitive Step 1 USMLE score. Although we do not have a minimum score requirement, the competition in recent years has been exceptionally high, with many more outstanding applicants than the number of available PGY1 positions. We have no formal deadline for application submission, although late applicants may find interview positions filled and not available by late December. Our interviews are conducted between December and February each year.

The faculty includes experts in clinical patient care and research. At each participating rotation site, there are board-certified faculty members who instruct and supervise all residents. Each faculty member brings his or her expertise through participation in teaching rounds, instruction in clinics and surgery, formal teaching conferences and research.

The USC Caruso Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery residency program is five years. The residents spend the first year in surgical, emergency and critical care and anesthesia training. After this initial training, the program provides progressive education in otolaryngology for 48 months, inclusive of vacation time. During the final year of education, the residents act at the capacity of a chief resident in the sponsoring institution.

Schedule Overview

Residents spend the initial 12 months in surgical, emergency and critical care and anesthesia training. After this initial training, the program provides progressive education in otolaryngology for 48 months, inclusive of vacation time.

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Benefits and Salary

General work benefits are provided by the County of Los Angeles and are negotiated for residents by the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR). Salaries compare favorably with those of other resident positions in the community.

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Rotation Facilities

Los Angeles General Medical Center

A partner of the Keck School of Medicine of USC since 1885, Los Angeles General Medical Center is among the largest teaching hospitals in the country. Staffed by more than 450 full-time faculty members of the Keck School and approximately 850 medical residents in training, Los Angeles General Medical Center services 50,000 inpatients and 750,000 outpatients annually. Among its specialized facilities and services is a state-of-the-art burn center, Level III neonatal intensive care unit, Level I trauma service, an NIH-funded clinical research center and a HIV/AIDS outpatient center.

Los Angeles General Medical Center forms the cornerstone for the residency training program in the Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. The department provides emergency and urgent service to approximately 20 patients every 24 hours. Approximately 20 to 40 procedures are performed every week in our OR and clinic. It has a large outpatient clinic, where approximately 70 to 100 patients are seen on a daily basis. There are four color-coded services: red, blue, purple and green. Each team is comprised of one attending staff, one chief resident, one junior resident and one to two medical students. The on-call attending physician rounds every morning with one team. Departmental rounds take place on the inpatient ward every morning, and faculty, residents, nursing staff and allied health professionals participate in these rounds.

LA General Medical Center exterior building and signage

Keck Hospital of USC

The Keck Hospital of USC was built in 1991 at the Keck School of Medicine. It is a 300 bed tertiary care hospital. The Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery maintains an average census of 5-10 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. Each PGY3 resident rotates through Keck Hospital for six months during the year; each PGY4 resident rotates through Keck Hospital for 9 months. These residents are actively involved in the management of the private patients of the attendings. The program at this hospital provides a comprehensive educational experience for the residents in broncho-esophagology, endocrine surgery, microvascular surgery, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, head and neck surgery, skull base surgery, laryngology, broncho-esophagology, otology, neurotology, sleep surgery, and rhinology. Niels Kokot, MD, supervises the residents along with other faculty members. The PGY4 residents obtain substantial clinical and operative experience during this rotation and prepare themselves to assume the chief resident position in the following year.


Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA)

This hospital is one of the best Children’s Hospitals providing tertiary care to pediatric patients on the West Coast. Jeffrey Koempel, MD, MBA, chief of pediatric otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, and Christian Hochstim, MD, PhD, Program Director of the CHLA rotation, supervise PGY3 residents along with other distinguished faculty members in a busy in-patient and outpatient service. All types of pediatric otolaryngology care are provided through this division, including trauma, tumor, broncho-esophagology, otology, neurotology, laryngology and repair of cleft palate. Each PGY3 resident rotates through this hospital for 3 months.


Need Help Applying?

Kimberley Schultz
Program Administrator
(323) 442-4830