Arthur Hengerer, M.D., former chair and professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, will retire this month, concluding more than four decades of dedicated service to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Appointed chief in 1981, in 27 years he grew otolaryngology from a division in the Department of Surgery to a full-service department, a tangible reflection of his contributions to clinical services, research and teaching.
Hengerer developed a robust clinical program, recruiting fellowship-trained faculty in every subspecialty area of otolaryngology, including adult and pediatric otolaryngology; allergies, sinus and ear problems; facial plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery; head and neck surgery; laryngology; and neurotology. As demand for clinical care grew, Hengerer spearheaded the expansion and relocation of the department’s outpatient services, opening the doors to its current home at Clinton Woods in Brighton in 2003.
“Art Hengerer was a visionary leader whose efforts shaped otolaryngology not just at the University of Rochester, but also in the city and region,” said Shawn Newlands, M.D., current chair of the Department of Otolaryngology. “He transformed otolaryngology from a two-person practice to the robust, nationally respected subspecialty department it is today.”
Early in his tenure, Hengerer focused on building otolaryngology’s research stature. The department became one of the Top 20 ENT programs in National Institutes of Health research. In addition, he added a state-of-the-art temporal bone laboratory that had an immediate impact on resident education and cultivated a respected training program, which earned national recognition among its peers.
During his long career at the University, Hengerer was a respected leader who contributed in numerous ways. In the 2000s, that included serving two stints as interim chair of the Department of Surgery department over a four-year period.
Though he stepped down as chair in 2007, Hengerer remained devoted to the practice of pediatric otolaryngology. His latest commitment is to physician wellness and resilience as he works to address burnout and suicide in health care workers.
Recently, he became a co-lead at the National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience. “Although this is a long-term process, the beachhead has been established and progress is now taking shape to find solutions to put joy back into medicine,” Hengerer said.
Hengerer has chaired the New York State Department of Health Office of Professional Medical Conduct since 2012, and has served as chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards for the past three years.
Hengerer is a graduate of Westminster College and the Albany Medical College. He completed his residency in otolaryngology at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse and a fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.
Faculty are invited to a retirement reception in Hengerer’s honor on Tuesday, May 15, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Hilton Garden Inn College Town.