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, Dr. Thomas Balkany, was announced at the 55th Annual virtual Fall meeting on Sept 12, 2020. 

Bruce J. Gantz, MD

Bruce J Gantz, MD is currently Professor and Chair emeritus of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.  He received his Bachelor of Science and Masters degree in Otolaryngology from the University of Iowa, where he completed medical school.  A surgical internship was served at the University of Utah College of Medicine.  He returned to the University of Iowa for his Otolaryngology residency.  

Upon completing a Neurotology Clinical Fellowship with Dr Ugo Fisch at the Universitätsspital Zürich, Otorhinolaryngologische Klinik und Poliklinik, in Zürich, Switzerland, he joined the faculty at the University of Iowa Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery.

Dr Gantz’s research interests include: cochlear implants, management of facial paralysis, hearing preservation in acoustic tumor and skull-base surgery, and management of cholesteatoma.  In 1983 he implanted the first Australian multichannel cochlear implant outside of Melbourne.  He is the principle investigator of the Iowa Cochlear Implant Clinical Research Center, funded by the NIH since 1985.  In December, 2017 the Center was awarded their seventh five-year NIH renewal that will run through 2022.  He has led the Iowa CI Team in the development of the Hybrid Cochlear Implant, for which he holds a patent.

He is a member of many otolaryngology professional societies and has Board Certification from the American Board of Otolaryngology, as well as subspecialty certification in Neurotology from the ABOto. 

Some of his honors include being named the Brian F McCabe Distinguished Chair in Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery by The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine; The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus Award for Achievement in 2005; University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Mentor Award 2010; elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2000; President of the Association of Research in Otolaryngology; President of the American Neurotology Society; President of the American Otological Society; and President of the American Board of Otolaryngology.  In 2016, he was awarded the Shambaugh Prize for life time achievement from the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum.  In 2022, he was named an Iowa Board of Regents, Award for Faculty Excellence.  His publications include 255 peer-reviewed papers and he has contributed to over 58 books and chapters.

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.