Michele Carr DDS MD MEd PhD

Board Certification: Dentistry, Medicine, Otolaryngology

Medical School: University of Toronto

Dental School:  University of Toronto

Graduate School:  Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

Residency: Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Fellowship:  Pediatric Otolaryngology

Fellowship:  Surgical Education Research

Faculty Rank:  Professor

Special Clinical/Research Interests: Pediatric otolaryngology, decision making in surgery, surgical outcomes, resident education.

Is there a particular population of students (e.g., ethnicity, spiritual, sexual orientation) that you would particularly like to advise?

No preference.

What does a typical day in the life of an pediatric otolaryngologist include?

We spend half of our time in clinic assessing children and half of our time in the operating room. Cases include surgery to improve airways, hearing, and to correct head and neck anomalies. I also spend time doing research and quality improvement projects. I teach residents and devote some time to thinking up ways to challenge them.

What is the biggest challenge of being an pediatric otolaryngologist ? 

There are many challenges. One is that the primary care community often does not recognize when a child could benefit from otolaryngologic care.  Otolaryngological problems make up 40% of primary care visits but most pediatricians and family doctors have not spent any time in an otolaryngology clinic during their training. 

How do you foresee Head and Neck Surgery changing over the next 20 years?

Surgery is becoming less invasive – we are using tinier scopes and robots to access lesions.

Women will be better represented in the specialty in the future. The percentage of women in otolaryngology was 17% when I started and is now 30%.

What advice would you give a student who is considering a residency in your specialty?

For any residency – go spend time with people in that specialty. Shadow in clinic or the OR. If you like them and think you would fit in with them, it’s probably a good choice. Start early; if you choose a competitive specialty you would be smart to get involved in research. 

For otolaryngology – if you like head and neck anatomy or the nuances of communication it may be the specialty for you. It is varied – some of us deal only with ears, some with voice, some with head and neck cancer, some with facial plastic surgery, some with sinuses, some with allergy, some with children, and some deal with all of these. We do some fun procedures and make people better.