Two New Physicians Join the Department and a New Institute Created

The Department of Otolarygology/Head and Neck Surgery has appointed two new physicians, Michael J. Pitman, MD, and Ana Hae-Ok Kim, MD, and announced the creation of the Voice and Swallowing Institute of ColumbiaDoctors.

“Dr. Pitman and Dr. Kim will further add to the expertise of the nationally known faculty of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,” said Lawrence Lustig, MD, Howard W. Smith Professor of Otolaryngology & Head & Neck Surgery and department chair. “Our program is equipped to treat all patients, from those requiring basic ENT care to the most complex cases, with many sub-specialty experts throughout the field.”

Dr. Pitman has joined Columbia as associate professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, chief of the Division of Laryngology, and Director of the Voice and Swallowing Institute. He previously served as laryngology division leader of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) and the Mount Sinai Health System. 

“Dr. Pitman is a true pioneer in the field of laryngology. His extensive background and research in voice restoration, airway disorders, and dysphagia allow us to offer a number of innovative treatment options for patients,” Dr. Lustig said.

Dr. Pitman is a recognized expert in voice restoration, conservation and care of the professional voice, as well as in the care of swallowing and airway disorders. He specializes in the treatment of illnesses such as vocal fold paralysis, cricopharyngeal dysfunction, spasmodic dysphonia, laryngopharyngeal reflux, chronic cough, laryngotracheal stenosis, vocal fold polyps, nodules, and cysts. Amy L. Cooper, MS, will serve as the institute’s new assistant director.

It’s not just professional singers who have vocal problems, said Dr. Pitman. “As much as 38% of the population will have a significant voice problem in their lifetime. Vocal dysfunction can develop as the result of vocal overuse or abuse, or as the result of many different medical issues.” Conservative management can be sufficient to fix many of these problems, but many minimally invasive procedures and microsurgical options are available if vocal difficulties persist. New technologies, like implantable electronic stimulators and vocal fold grafting, are also on the horizon.

Also joining the otolaryngology faculty is Ana Hae-Ok Kim, MD, who is board-certified in otolaryngology and neurotology. Dr. Kim specializes in ear diseases such as hearing loss, cochlear implants, facial nerve disorders, chronic ear diseases, and skull base tumors. She focuses on inner ear disorders and potential therapies. At the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, Dr. Kim also served as director of otologic research, focusing on inner ear disorders and potential therapies.

Audiology services are available at all locations, including 51 West 51st Street, Harkness Pavilion, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and 3050 Corlear Avenue in the Bronx. For appointments, call 212-305-8555.

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