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Ashley Agan, M.D.

Assistant Professor
Medical Student Clerkship Director
Department of Otolaryngology (preferred method of contact)

Ashley Agan, M.D.

Secondary Contacts

Brandon Isaacson, M.D.

Gopi Shah, M.D.

About the Specialty

Otolaryngology is a surgical subspecialty that combines both medical and surgical treatments to cover a broad range of conditions of the head and neck region. Essentially, it involves all areas from the clavicles up, excluding the eye and spine, and with a few exceptions, remains outside of the dura; “from pleura to dura.” We frequently even harvest free flaps from the limbs, abdomen, or back to reconstruct parts of the head and neck! We see people of all ages.

Answers to Common Questions

  • Attributes of a Competitive Student

    What factors typically make a student competitive for this specialty?

    Step scores should be over 230, the average is closer to 250/260. AOA is good. Top quartile. At least three research experiences, publications and presentations are preferred. Strong letters from reputable faculty also is helpful.

  • Research

    How important is research experience in your specialty? If important, does it need to be in the specialty itself?

    Research experience is important whether it is working on an abstract, case reports, or presenting at a meeting or publishing a paper. Research specific to ENT is helpful but any research exposure is great.

  • Shadowing

    How can students identify opportunities for shadowing?

    Contact interest group or email me.

  • Electives

    What electives would you recommend to a student who is interested in pursuing your specialty?

    ENT 2001 is a two-week elective.

    Based on your experience, what tips do you have for students to shine on your electives?

    Read! Be proactive and self-starting. Come early and stay late.

  • Away Rotations

    Does your specialty recommend doing away rotations?

    Yes, most students do one away rotation. Some choose to do two. It is not a requirement, however.

    If your specialty recommends doing away rotations, how many “aways” do you recommend?


    If away rotations are necessary, when should they apply and when should they be completed?

    Applications are due first of April. I would recommend doing an away in July, August, or September.

  • Interview Timing

    Which month do you recommend taking off to interview?

    December and January are the heaviest interview months.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    How many letters of recommendation are needed to apply to your specialty?

    At least three.

    Does your specialty recommend that all letters of recommendation be written by members of your specialty?


    If letters can come from other disciplines, do you have a recommendation as to which disciplines are more highly valued?


    Does the academic rank of the letter writer matter?


    Does your specialty require a letter from the chairman?



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