Noel L. Cohen Award for Significant Contributions to Otology and Neurotology

Through a generous gift from our late colleague, ANS has established the Noel L. Cohen, M.D. Award for Significant Contributions to Otology and Neurotology. The establishment of the award is a fitting tribute to Dr. Cohen — a gifted physician, surgeon, academician, educator, administrator and a leader. His contributions brought distinction to Otology & Neurotology, New York University, and our society.

The first recipient of this esteemed award will be announced at the 55th Annual Fall meeting in Boston, MA. 

Thomas Balkany, M.D., Hotchkiss professor and chair emeritus of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

The first recipient of the Noel L. Cohen, M.D. Award for Significant Contributions to Otology and Neurotology was presented to Thomas J. Balkany, MD on September 11, 2020 during the 55th Annual ANS virtual Fall meeting. The award was presented by ANS Immediate Past President, Dr. Nikolas Blevins.

Dr. Balkany is a distinguished ear surgeon and neurotologist specializing in cochlear implantation. He is the Hotchkiss Endowment Distinguished Professor and Chairman Emeritus in the Department of Otolaryngology and Professor of Neurological Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Additionally, he is a fellow of the American Neurotology Society, the American Otological Society, the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics. 


About Dr. Noel L. Cohen 

Dr. Cohen’s education and training was marked by distinction. He received his B.A. from the University Heights College in the Bronx in 1951.  Subsequently, in 1955, he received his M.D. from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. It was in Holland that he met his wife, Baukje.  Between 1957 to 1959, Noel served as Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve. He first joined the NYU family in 1959 as an ENT resident and, following completion, he stayed on as faculty in 1962.  

At NYU, Dr. Cohen’s career flourished as did NYU under his leadership. Little known is that early in his career, Noel was an accomplished thyroid surgeon before choosing the path that would lead him to become one of the leading cochlear implant and acoustic neuroma surgeons. A natural leader, Dr. Cohen became Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology in 1980, a position he held until 2003 – an impressive 23 years! In 1997-1998, he served as Interim Dean of NYU School of Medicine.

Under his leadership as Chair, the department grew in national and international stature. He established the NYU Cochlear Implant Center and built it into one of the largest clinical and research cochlear implant programs in the world. His landmark VA Cochlear Implant study established the superiority of multichannel cochlear implants over single-channel device. He was one the early pioneers in the clinical application of auditory brainstem implants. In addition to cochlear and brainstem implants, he built one of the largest acoustic neuroma programs on the East Coast.

A distinguished surgeon and speaker, he was highly sought after as guest, participant, and lecturer, throughout the world. In 2003, in recognition of his many contributions to medicine, he was awarded an Honorary M.D. from University of Freiberg. Though he will forever be remembered for his innumerable contributions, his friends and colleagues will fondly remember him for his kindness and humanity.  The establishment of the Noel L. Cohen Award is a wonderful tribute to our late friend and colleague and will forever associate his name to significant contributions in Otology & Neurotology.  It will serve to honor those amongst us whose contributions reflect an enduring commitment to scientific innovation and medical advancement in our field.