WENTS & Friends

Forging Ahead

June 14, 2021 WENTS UK Season 1 Episode 1
WENTS & Friends
Forging Ahead
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Our first episode launches with a bang, with a truly enlightening conversation between WENTS President and host Ekpemi Irune and three highly respected ENT surgeons who challenge the status quo and inspire their peers – Prof. Janet Wilson, Prof. Vin Paleri and Mr Guri Sandhu share their personal perceptions and experiences of diversity in the medical space.

Janet Wilson is Professor of Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Newcastle University and Past President of the British Laryngological Association.  Professor Wilson has held the substantive chair in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Newcastle University since 1995 and is only the second female to be appointed to a UK chair in ENT. 

Vin Paleri is a Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Professor of Robotics and Endoscopic Head and Neck Surgery at the Institute of Cancer Research, London.  Prof. Paleri pioneered trans-oral robotic surgery in the UK and has the largest experience in the country. He is the current President of the British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists.

Guri Sandu is a Consultant Laryngologist, Head and Neck Surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and The Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospitals in London, with honorary contracts at the Royal Brompton Hospital.  Mr. Sandu set up the National Centre for Airway Reconstruction in London, comprising a multidisciplinary team of specialists with an interest in airway problems.  He is the President of the British Laryngological Association and is highly regarded internationally as an invited speaker.

In this full and frank conversation, Prof. Wilson, Prof. Paleri and Mr Sandhu discuss their experience of the constraints faced by women in surgery and their personal experiences of discrimination. They share their own stories about how and why they have thrived in their chosen careers and give invaluable advice to listeners about career progression, including some candid truths about what it takes to succeed.  We cover changes in attitude between the different generations within the hierarchy of medicine and how our guests deal with these.  The surgeons tell us how they intend to use their influence to empower women in surgery and others that feel unrepresented. We also discuss life outside of and after a career in surgery, how this can be better supported and the challenges of retiring from a high-profile medical career. 

For more inspiring conversations which raise and debate difficult issues that affect surgeons, be sure to subscribe to this podcast to receive alerts on new episodes as they are released. Please do rate and review this podcast below. 

Get in touch

WENTS & Friends is the official podcast for Women in ENT Surgery UK

Visit entuk.org/wents-uk for further information and details on becoming a WENTS UK member.

Email: [email protected] for any questions or suggestions on topics you may have for future episodes.

This show is brought to you by WENTS UK. Follow us on Twitter @UKWENTs

This season’s episodes are hosted by Ekpemi Irune @ENTmimi, Emma Stapleton @otolaryngolofox and Nina Mistry @nina3mistry. Produced and directed by Heather Pownall @heathershub of Heather's Media Hub Ltd. Created and co-produced by Ekpemi Irune.
We would like to thank our sponsors Karl Storz for their kind support.


The first question: Professor Wilson, gives two particular examples of how being a woman has influenced her career. And gives one piece of advice to women in general in the field of surgery.
What does diversity and inclusivity in surgery mean to you
Can merit can be skewed towards privilege?
What is the most common reason why people don't necessarily really thrive?
How do we communicate effectively with people who are coming into an environment that's foreign to them?
Intergration, how does ENT as a specialty fair?
How are you managing a change in culture from the generation coming up?
Has this new culture affected the quality of surgical training?
What is your perception of how currently, trainees think about what success is about?
Does gender or race affect the opinions reported from other team members?
Life outside of surgery and life after a surgical career
What are the opportunities outside of medicine?
Can an NHS ideology be detrimental?
Each guest is asked: How do you intend to use your influence to empower women in surgery, and others that feel ignored or unsupported?