Rebecca Howell, MD,
assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the UC College of
Medicine, member of the UC Cancer Institute and a physician who specializes in
treating voice and swallowing disorders, grew up in Pittsburgh and then
attended the University of Michigan for her undergraduate studies. She won an
Intramural Research Training Award at the National Institutes of Health in
Bethesda prior to starting medical school at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
She went back to Washington, D.C., to complete her residency in otolaryngology-head
and neck surgery at George Washington University and then completed a one-year
fellowship in laryngology at Georgia Regents University in Augusta just prior
to being recruited to the University of Cincinnati.
Why did you choose
my chairman, Dr. Myles Pensak, and senior partner, Dr. Sid Khosla, have a vision
for our department and knew I could be an integral part of it. Dr. Khosla’s lab
for laryngeal biomechanics and reconstruction is at the forefront of research
in our field. My husband is an aerospace engineer, and what Dr. Khosla does is
to combine fluid dynamics (aerospace) and laryngology—I’ve always considered it
a perfect marriage anyway.”
Explain a bit about
your clinical focuses (voice and swallowing outcomes in head and neck
survivors)? Do you conduct any research?
I love the breadth of laryngology—voice, airway and swallowing. From a research
perspective, I am interested in dysphagia, and particularly, the group I see
the greatest benefit in treating is head and neck cancer survivors. I am new to
UC, so my initial research efforts will be continuing the work on our voice,
airway and swallowing database until I have some pilot data to support a cancer
What is your favorite
part of the job? What motivates you?
with my team is my favorite part of my job. I have a rare opportunity to change
the way we treat patients at the Voice and Swallowing Center. We are transitioning
to a comprehensive treatment center where patients see both physician/surgeon
and speech language pathologist in the same visit. It creates an exciting,
collaborative environment, which allows us to optimize how we work as a team.”
What do you like to
do in your spare time? Any interesting hobbies or facts about yourself?
have two young children to keep me busy at home. I also have an incredibly
supportive family; in fact, my sister moved to Ohio with us to help take care
of my children. My sister, daughter and I all love to cook and subsequently
eat! I think it must be part of my fascination in treating patients who
struggle with voice and swallowing issues—it is the very heart of how we interact
and socialize together.”