1 December-30 June 2021
Virtual BACO International


ENT UK is very pleased to announce the winners of the first-ever BACO Awards, and to congratulate them on their achievement!

Janet Wilson, joint winner of ‘Outstanding trainer’ category

Nominator testimony:
Professor Wilson is an outstanding and inspiring trainer. She is a national and international leader in ENT research – having been chief investigator on two large trials, TOPPITS and NATTINA. She has been the lead for academic training in the Northern Deanery for several years and supervised more than a dozen higher degrees, both clinical and translational, including for allied health professionals. She has authored over 250 professional and scientific publications and is an international authority on throat symptoms.

In addition to her outstanding academic achievements, Prof Wilson is an exemplary clinician and teacher. She is highly regarded by patients and colleagues alike. She has introduced numerous clinical innovations – particularly local anaesthetic laryngeal interventions in the outpatient clinic. She selflessly gives up her own time to support, train and guide others. Her tireless encouragement of junior trainees has encouraged many into ENT training. She is highly respected among trainees past and present for her kind and friendly leadership.

Professor Wilson is universally known for her patience and skill in teaching surgical trainees. She is uniquely talented, being able to identify areas trainees need to improve in and communicating this in a polite and confidence-building fashion. She is also generous with praise and positive encouragement where trainees do well.

Andrew Robson, joint winner of ‘Outstanding trainer’ category

Nominator testimony:
Andrew has inspired a DGH ENT service in a large, geographically diverse and generally deprived area. His efforts have ensured that patients have had access to highly specialist ENT services over the last 24 years. Central to his philosophy in delivering this quality service have been the trainees who work with him. He has fostered the education of many, ranging from committed higher surgical trainees to juniors experiencing ENT for the first time. Latterly, as the Guardian for Safe Working, he has extended his educational skills to assist all trainees in North Cumbria, especially those requiring support to ensure they flourish in the future as doctors.

He has trained several colleagues who have gone on to specialist head and neck consultant posts, all of whom would cite him as an inspiration… and a friend. He has performed important roles that have benefitted trainees for many years – Programme Director for the North East and North Cumbria, Director of Education for ENT UK and the Chair of the SAC. He has led on the curriculum changes within ENT and on the syllabus for the DOHNS.

He has always been an accessible and approachable trainer to any trainee in the UK looking for advice and guidance in their career. He and his colleagues have always taken pride in ensuring that all trainees thoroughly gain from and enjoy their time working in Carlisle. This award would be fitting for all the effort he has put in towards ENT education in the UK.”

Mahmood Bhutta, winner of ‘Global health’ category

Nominator testimony:
For the last five years, Mood has been working on human resource development for ear and hearing care in low resource settings. After his training he spent five months training the first mastoid surgeons in Cambodia, who are now training others. He works as consultant to the WHO programme on prevention of deafness and hearing loss, developing educational resources for primary care workers to recognise and manage ear disorders. He has trained community workers in Uganda, Nepal, Fiji, South Africa, and indigenous areas of Australia. He is supervising three PhDs in global ear disease, investigating barriers to ear care access in Cambodia, outcomes of community health worker training in Uganda, and a multi-site feasibility study for a low-cost bone conducting aid.
Mood has also for many years been a pioneer and advocate for worker rights in global healthcare supply chains.


Vinidh Paleri, winner of ‘Innovation in Otolaryngology’ category

Nominator testimony:
Vinidh Paleri has played a crucial role in innovating and establishing robotic surgery programmes for head and neck cancer in the UK and Europe. He set up the first multidisciplinary transoral robotic surgery (TORS) service in the UK. As the sole UK-based international proctor for TORS, he has provided training to 33 UK surgeons onsite, and helped to set up head and neck robotic services at 16 NHS trusts around the UK and one in Europe. Under his leadership, the TORS service in Newcastle was benchmarked by BMJ awards as “Extremely good and an example to others”. His current focus is application of TORS for cancers that recur following treatment. He pioneered a new technique to resect tongue base recurrences, and lead the RECUT study of 15 global centres, setting the evidence for a new treatment modality where the sole option was transcervical/transmandibular ablative surgery in a radiated field. He is also chief investigator for one of the two trials in the world for the unknown primary cancer in the head and neck incorporating robotic surgery.


Misha Verkerk, winner of ‘Rising star’ category

Nominator testimony:
The St. George's team nominated Misha Verkerk for his exceptional performance while he was a core trainee and ST3; he is now ST6 at another unit in London. Misha was truly exceptional in both his surgical skill acquisition and his leadership potential, including his humanitarian work in Otolaryngology.

Misha demonstrated a technical ability that was outstanding for his stage of training. He uses his considerable academic talents to the benefit of others as the UK Director of a Global ENT outreach programme, and is actively involved in humanitarian ear surgery missions. He is also the holder of a RCGP research grant for the study of recurrent acute otitis media in children. His research work focuses on improving the care of children with recurrent ear infection and improving the standard of medical and surgical care of patients in developing countries.

Misha demonstrates all of the characteristics that are required for a future leader with an innovative and global outlook for the specialty and a natural surgical ability


Camilla Dawson, winner of ‘Allied professional’ category

Nominator testimony:
A prolific author with a strong clinical academic background, Dr Dawson has brought together SLTs, clinicians, and AHPs from around the world and is regarded as a leading figure in qualitative research involving head and neck cancer patients in the UK and abroad. Her patient-focussed methodology is evident in all of her work, and she is widely respected within national and international circles. Closer to home, Camilla has almost single-handedly developed the SLT department at UHB, bridging the gap between ENT and OMFS, while always acting as the patient advocate. She is a regular contributor to MDT discussions, and her opinions on the functional burden of treatment options for patients are highly valued by the entire MDT. Camilla has been instrumental in the formation of the national head and neck cancer advocacy group HANCUK, and is a regular contributor to patients and charity. In her short career, Camilla has made a huge impact on the work carried out at UHB and beyond. Through her tireless work developing international collaborations, she has demonstrated that building a clinical and academic profile as an AHP can lead to direct patient benefit.


The BACO awards were designed to celebrate excellence in our specialty, and the many nominations we received were very impressive. We would like to thank you everybody who took part, whether by nominating a colleague or accepting a nomination. Voting was overseen, and infrastructure provided, by Mi-Voice, an independent specialist in online elections. Winners will be acknowledged at Virtual BACO International 2021 in January – we look forward to seeing you there!

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