Due to the Covid Pandemic, all GOLF candidates, due to complete their observership in 2020, will be permitted to complete their observership in 2021. IFHNOS is currently reviewing additional observership sites to make travel easy and accessible to all candidates. Please continue to check on the IFHNOS website for new sites added in 2020 and 2021.

Comprehensive International Fellowship in head & neck surgery (IFHNS) - CLINICAL

    The programs offering these fellowships are currently undergoing the approvals process. It is expected that several programs will be approved by mid 2022. Candidates, may then apply directly to the program directors listed under “ Accredited Fellowship Programs”.

  • The Fellowship

    In 2014 IFHNOS established the Global On Line Fellowship (GOLF)*, an academic Program, with the goal of establishing a uniform standard of core knowledge and clinical practices around the world and to improve the knowledge and judgment of Head and Neck Surgeons internationally. This program enhances theoretical knowledge and clinical decision making. In the GOLF program there is no hands-on training component.

    In 2022 IFHNOS introduced a comprehensive clinical training program in combination with the Academic (GOLF) program, “The Comprehensive International Fellowship in Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology” (IFHNS). This clinical fellowship program will require at least one year of hands on surgical training in a center of excellence accredited by IFHNOS. In addition, the fellows are also required to register for and undertake the one year academic curriculum of the GOLF Program and complete all its written and oral examinations. The Centers offering this comprehensive fellowship program have met with international standards of head and neck training and are accredited by IFHNOS. The program directors are established leaders in the specialty. Completion of the comprehensive clinical fellowship and the GOLF program will qualify the candidates for conferral of IFHNS (International Fellow in Head and Neck Surgery).

    *For details on the GOLF program, including eligibility, requirements, curriculum, timeline and registration, please see the details on GOLF

  • Institutional Requirements


    To apply for inclusion in the IFHNS program the institution must be:

    • A tertiary care center that is equipped and staffed to provide comprehensive outpatient and inpatient, diagnostic, therapeutic and supportive care for patients with head and neck tumors.
    • Multidisciplinary expertise in head and neck surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, endocrinology, diagnostic and interventional radiology and nuclear medicine, and head and neck pathology is required.
    • The center should be capable of performing the full spectrum of head and neck surgical procedures and postoperative care of these patients.
    • Adequate funding to support salary of the Fellow, at a level commensurate with the year of postgraduate training, prevailing in the region at other institutions.
    • The arrangement for salary support is directly negotiated by the institution/program and the candidate. IFHNOS does not have any financial involvement or commitment in this regard.
    • Academic affiliation with a University is desirable but not mandatory.
    • Adequate support for academic activities, including clinical or laboratory research is desirable.
    • Adequate support staff to assist with record-keeping, data entry, electronic medical records etc. should be available on site.


    The Fellowship program may be already established or may be a new program to apply for inclusion in the IFHNS program the program must be:

    An independent program, or may co-exist with a Residency program in Otolaryngology, General Surgery or Plastic Surgery. If a residency program is concurrently active, there should be sufficient clinical volume to avoid reducing the clinical experience of existing trainees. The Fellowship program may be of one or two years in duration. The Fellow must participate in the management of at least 300 patients during the year of Fellowship. The program should have an integrated multidisciplinary team of Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology, including Radiation Oncology, Medical Oncology, Diagnostic Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, Endocrinology, Pathology, Plastic and Reconstructive surgery, Dentistry and prosthodontics, rehabilitation services and all allied supporting services. At least three surgeons devoting more than 50% of their clinical practice in Head and Neck surgery should be on the staff, including the Program Director.

    Capabilities for microvascular free flap reconstruction should be available in the program. A minimum of 400 cases of Head and Neck tumors should be managed by the faculty of the program annually.

    The candidate should have access to at least 120 surgical cases as primary surgeon, or operating surgeon with supervision by faculty member.

    Multidisciplinary tumor boards should take place at least twice a month, where the Fellow presents and participates in the discussion.

    The program should encourage and facilitate any clinical or laboratory research activity by the Fellow and support him/her in presenting such study at national or international meetings.


    The Program Director/Department Chair, should be a well-recognized Head and Neck Surgeon with the following qualifications:

    • Preferably a Head and Neck Fellowship trained Surgeon.
    • In the absence of Fellowship training, the Program Director/Department Chair should have at least 10 years of clinical experience in Head and Neck Surgery.
    • The Program Director/Department Chair should be a recognized Leader in the specialty (i.e. hold institutional, local, regional, national or international leadership positions).
    • The Program Director should spend the majority of their clinical activity in Head and Neck Surgery.
    • A University faculty appointment is desirable.
    • A track record of scholarly activity is required in addition to clinical expertise, with a list of publications included and attached together with a complete CV.
    • The Program Director is required to attest to the clinical knowledge and surgical capabilities of the trainee in a letter directly to the IFHNOS.
  • Time Line

    Applications for IFHNS Open throughout the year, and are as per the requirement of the program that the candidate is applying for. Contact program Director for details
    Notification of Acceptance for IFHNS By decision of Program Director
    IFHNS Program Begins

    GOLF program begins
    Per schedule of the program (Duration 1-2 years)

    Oct 1, and ends Sept. 30 the following year
    For the GOLF program

    3 Quarterly Written Online Exams
    Candidates doing the IFHNS program are EXEMPT from the one month Observership, required for the candidates doing only the GOLF program.
    For 2024: Jan 17, April 17 and July 17
    Oral Examination online
    (On zoom)
    One hour of oral examination, with three pairs of examiners (20 minutes with each pair), in October 2024
  • Candidate Requirements


    Candidates wishing to apply for the IFHNS program must be:

    • Board-certified or its equivalent in the specialty of Otolaryngology, General Surgery or Plastic Surgery, in their country.
    • The candidate should have received at least four years of postgraduate surgical training in one of the above specialties with increasing clinical responsibility.
    • The candidates may apply directly to any approved Fellowship program.
    • The candidate must meet all licensing requirements to be accepted as a Fellow in the region/country where the candidate is applying for Fellowship.
    • The candidate must be familiar and proficient with the language being used by people and patients in the region where the Fellowship is hosted.


    The candidate must register for the IFHNOS Global On Line Fellowship (GOLF) program. A one or two-year clinical Fellowship may be undertaken, in tandem with the GOLF program. The candidate must submit his/her surgical log of all the cases completed during the Fellowship, independently or under supervision of a faculty member (minimum 120 cases). This log must be certified by the Program Director.

    The surgical procedures should be well distributed between mucosal cancers of the Upper GI tract, sinuses, salivary glands, thyroid, parathyroid, skin, soft tissue and bone tumors.

    The candidate is required to participate in regular multidisciplinary tumor boards, including actively presenting cases and participating in the decision-making process.

    The candidate must pass all the written and oral examinations of the GOLF program.

    Upon completion of the GOLF program and IFHNS Fellowship, the candidate will receive a Certificate of “International Fellow in Head and Neck Surgery” and may use the title “IFHNS” after their names


    At the conclusion of this Fellowship program, including 1-2 years of clinical training and successful completion of all components of the GOLF program, the candidate should achieve the following:

    • Competency in clinical diagnosis, including endoscopic assessment and interpretation of diagnostic imaging, to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and staging of head and neck tumors.
    • Sufficient knowledge and judgement to arrive at the most appropriate treatment for each patient.
    • Surgical competency to independently conduct common head and neck procedures, including neck dissections, parotidectomy, surgery for oral cancer, thyroid and parathyroid surgery, surgery for larynx, pharynx and sinus cancers and surgical procedures for skin, soft tissue and bone tumors.
    • Ability to actively participate and contribute in a multidisciplinary tumor board, for management of complex cases.
    • Understanding of the indications and benefits from non-surgical treatments and adjuvant treatments.
    • The ability to understand and interpret published literature, biostatistics, data management and the importance of record-keeping and data registries.
    • Completion of this Fellowship will prepare the candidate to participate in local, regional, national and international academic activities, and provide opportunities to assume leadership roles.
    • Successful completion of this Fellowship will allow the candidate to use the title of “IFHNS” after their name.


    To apply, please contact the Program Director directly where the candidate wishes to apply. A complete list of approved programs and contact details is shown here.

  • Accredited Fellowship Programs

    New programs are added to this list, as additional programs get approved by IFHNOS. There are several programs currently undergoing the accreditation process. Visit this page periodically to see the most up to date list of approved programs.

    Country City Institution No. of Fellowship Positions Program Director
    Japan Tokyo National Cancer Center 8 Dr. Seiichi Yoshimoto
    Email: seyoshim@ncc.go.jp
    Tel.: +81-80-5008-7113
    South Africa Johannesburg Cintocare Private Hospital 2 Dr. Johann Kluge
    Email: johann@drjkluge.co.za
    Tel.: +27 82 777 8993
    Egypt Cairo National Cancer Institute 2 Dr. Ayman Amin
    Email: aymanamin@hotmail.com
    Tel.: +201001700767
    United States New York Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 5 Dr. Luc Morris
    Email: morrisl@mskcc.org
    Tel.: +1 212 639 3049
    Taiwan Taiwan Chang Gung Memorial Hospital 2 Dr. Fu Chan Wei
    Email: fuchanwei@gmail.com
    Tel.: +886975361013
    Brazil Sao Paulo Hospital das Clinicas, Univ. of Sao Paulo 1-3 Dr. Luiz Kowalski
    Email: lp_kowalski@uol.com.br
    Tel.: +55 (11) 99121-8942
    Mexico Guadalajara Instituto Jalisciense de Cancerología 1 Dr. Juan Jose Soto Avila
    Email: drjuanjosesotoavila@hotmail.com
    Singapore   Singapore Health Services 2 Dr. Gopal Iyer
    Email: Gmsngi@nus.edu.sg
    Hungary Budapest Semmelweis University 2 Prof. Dr. László Tamás
    Email: tamas.laszlo@semmelweis.hu

    To Apply for IFHNS, Contact
    Program Director


  • International Board Of Directors

    Chairman of the Board
    Jatin Shah, USA
    Sheng Po Hao, Taiwan Sir Murray Brennan, USA Luis Cebrian, Spain Gouri Pantavaidya, India
    Rogerio Dedivitis, Brazil Andreas Dietz, Germany Johann Fagan, S. Africa Gopal Iyer, Singapore
    Se-Heon Kim, S. Korea Renee Leemans, Netherlands Lisa Licitra, Italy Hisham Mehanna, UK
    Jeffrey Myers, USA Piero Nicolai, Italy Sandro Porceddu, Australia Ian Witterick, Canada
    Richard Wong, USA Zhenkun Yu, China

Address: IFHNOS, Room C-1067, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY. 10065. Tel.: + 1 212 717 3302

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