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Dr. Thorp

Welcome to the UNC Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery Residency Program

Program Director: Brian D. Thorp, MD, FACS, FARS

On behalf of the University of North Carolina Department of Otolaryngology, I would like to extend a warm welcome and thank you for your interest in our program.  Our growing faculty boasts expertise in all the subspecialties of Otolaryngology, providing our trainees with a full spectrum of clinical and research opportunities. We are excited to share some of the great work we have ongoing here at UNC, and our innovative plans for the immediate future.

Dr. Brian D. Thorp is an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, and specializes in Rhinology, benign and malignant skull base tumors, pituitary tumors, encephaloceles, cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea, chronic sinus disease, allergic fungal sinusitis. Dr. Thorp has been with the department since his own residency, through his fellowship– and now as a faculty member helping the department pave the way for resident excellence.

Our Residency Program by Numbers

Otolaryngology Program in Doximity’s Residency Research Output Rankings Nationally

Otolaryngology Program in Doximity’s Overall Residency Rankings

Average Total of Publications Produced by Residents Each Year

Average Total of Surgical Cases Performed During Residency

Program Administration

About Our Program

UNC’s Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery Resident Training Program strives to produce otolaryngologists, world class surgeons, empathetic providers and our nation’s top leaders. We have multiple nationally and world renowned fellowship trained faculty in each subspecialty. We provide a well-rounded, balanced training program with extensive clinical and research experience. We aim to equip our residents with the skills to integrate seamlessly into the ever changing landscape of healthcare. Most importantly, we foster a sense of family in a supportive, collaborative and respectful environment.
One of our strengths lies in being the public, academic medical center operated by and for the people of North Carolina. We are consistently ranked among the best training programs in the country. The program is five years in duration, however, we also an alternative career path of seven years with two of those years in the lab supported by an NIH T32 Training Grant. During the five years of training, our residents become trained in all aspects of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery. Our graduates have great success obtaining top fellowships in the sub disciplines of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery as well as highly sought after positions in academic and private practice. They remain and will always be part of our UNC Otolaryngology family.

UNC Healthcare System:

  • Main campus is comprised of 5 hospitals:
    • The North Carolina Memorial Hospital
    • UNC Children’s Hospital (the only free standing children’s hospital in North Carolina)
    • UNC Women’s Hospital
    • UNC Neurosciences Hospital
    • UNC Cancer Hospital
  • Approximately 900 beds
  • More than 600,000 ED visits and 3,500,000 clinic visits each year
  • New surgical/ICU tower opening in 2023
  • UNC SOM Ranked 5th for federal research funding

Department of Otolaryngology

  • > 250 free flaps performed in Head & Neck annually, >700 new head & neck cancers evaluated annually
  • > 300 Cochlear Implants performed annually
  • >50 Vestibular Schwannoma Cases performed in conjunction with neurosurgery annually
  • >600 Rhinology cases annually; >130 skull base cases/sinonasal tumor resections
  • >2500 pediatric otolaryngology operative cases are performed annually, part of the UNC Pediatric Airway Center, UNC Craniofacial Center
  • > 350 office-based laryngology procedures performed annually
  • Newly formed facial reanimation center
All applications and supporting documents should be submitted through the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®).
The research track program is a seven-year program, sponsored by an NIH T-32 training grant and is designed for the applicant interested in an expanded research career in academic Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery.

  • The NIH T32 7-year research opportunity and match is not being offered this year
  • 2 full years of research
  • Exemption from call and clinical duties during research time​
  • Opportunity in the last months of residency for independent curriculum or mini-fellowship
  • Supervised by a research funded faculty member

Our Residents

State of the Art Facilities

Our Commitment to Teaching

Teaching future leaders in Otolaryngology is paramount to our mission. Our comprehensive educational program includes a multifaceted approach that includes regularly scheduled didactics, conferences, faculty-led courses, national subspecialty courses, and other opportunities targeted to specific PGY levels.

Otolaryngology Core Curriculum Didactics (2 times per week, led by divisional faculty, flipped classroom format)
Multidisciplinary Head & Neck Tumor Board Conference
Pediatric Airway Conference
Grand Rounds
Morbidity & Mortality Conference
Research Rounds
Journal Club
Invited Visiting Professor Lecture Series

Resident participating in the Ultrasound Course

Temporal Bone Course
Microvascular Free Flap Course
Ultrasound Course
Carolinas Pediatric Airway Course (UNC/MUSC)
Head & Neck Anatomy Course
Facial Plastics Injection Course

ENT Boot Camp with Drs. Clark, DeMason and Drake

AAOA Allergy Course
Southern States Rhinology Course
American Academy of Otolaryngology Annual Meeting
NC/SC Otolaryngology Society Annual Meeting
Newton D. Fischer Society Meeting
ENT Boot Camp

Rotation Schedule

  • 6 months on otolaryngology service, 3 months on head & neck with 3 months apprenticeship model within the various subspecialties.
  • 6 months with variety of 1-month rotations designed to enhance basic surgical and medical knowledge of a surgeon in training. Residents will gain experience in pediatric surgery, trauma surgery, anesthesia, and surgical ICU.
  • 6 months of general otolaryngology experience at our level 1 trauma center site in Raleigh, WakeMed.
  • 4 months of research time.
  • 2 months at UNC’s Main Campus with an introduction into subspecialty training and an opportunity for supplemental experience in neuroradiology and audiology.
    • 3 months of advanced general otolaryngology experience at our level 1 trauma center site in Raleigh, WakeMed.
    • 9 months at UNC main campus rotating through each subspecialty division: rhinology/general/sleep, laryngology/pediatrics, otology/facial plastics, and head & neck.
    • There is also opportunity for some elective time to ensure a well-rounded year.
  • 3 months of advanced training in general otolaryngology at our level 1 trauma center site in Raleigh, WakeMed, where you serve as chief of the service gaining invaluable experience in leadership and team management skills.
  • 3 months of consult service rotation. Designed to gain experience in managing complex patients throughout the institution and coordination of multiple services with advanced decision-making responsibility in concert with faculty.
  • 6 months of advanced experience in each of the subspecialty divisions.
  • Opportunity for elective months to ensure well rounded experience, gain more experience in subspecialty of interest, and/or make plans for future training and career goals such as fellowship interviews.


  • The chief resident year is packed with enhanced leadership development, increased administrative responsibility, exercise of team management skills, and teaching of residents and medical students. This is coupled with clinical polishing of basic skills and experience in the our most advanced and complicated cases.
  • 3 months as chief of the head & neck service.
  • 9 months rotating through the remaining subspecialties serving as the chief of the service rotating on.


  • The NIH T32 7-year research opportunity and match is not being offered this year
  • After 1 year, residents complete 2 years of dedicated research time under the supervision of a research funded faculty member.


Resident Research

The UNC Department of Otolaryngology is committed to carrying out basic science, clinical, and health services research that advance the field of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery. Our residency program was ranked #5 in the Nation for ENT Residency Research Output by Doximity and recognized by the NIH Bluer Ridge Institute for Medical Research funding. In addition to our clinical faculty, we have an exceptional group of research faculty who mentor our residents and help them to personalize their projects to encompass their strengths and career goals. Our residents consistently share their novel research findings at numerous scientific and educational meetings each year.

International Mission Opportunities

We have a longstanding commitment to global outreach within our department. Some of our nationally and world renowned faculty have participated and led annual trips through a variety of incredible programs. We encourage and support our residents to participate in one of these programs or others of interest during their residency career with approval of the program director. Here we highlight two of these amazing programs.

The Global Smile Foundation (GSF) provides comprehensive care to children with cleft lip and/or palate in under-served communities throughout the world. Dr. Lauren Leeper has participated annually in the GSF mission to San Salvador, El Salvador at the Benjamin Bloom Children’s Hospital for 10 years. She is scheduled to begin annual missions to Beirut, Lebanon with GSF as well. Trainees at the PGY-5 resident or fellow level would be eligible to participate in the clinical experience with approval from GSF.
Learn More About The Global Smile Foundation
REI-Vietnam, an international not-for-profit organization, strives to improve quality of life internationally through agriculture, business, education, and medicine. Dr. Brent Senior participates in annual missions at the National ENT Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam to teach, lecture, and operate with Vietnamese surgeons and residents. UNC Alumni, Sarah Hodge, MD participated in 2019 and said, “having the opportunity to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam has been one of the most formative experiences I have encountered in residency.”Learn More About the Resident Perspective on Vietnam

Life in Chapel Hill

Known as “the Southern Part of Heaven,” Chapel Hill has been a popular relocation destination for many over the past few years. The triangle (Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh) was recognized by the U.S. News & World Report as #2 of 150 Best Places to Live, largely due to the prospering job market, renowned restaurants, and the strong feeling of community. Chapel Hill has something for everyone, from the beautiful greenways and trails, gardens, museums, breweries and a full calendar of community events. For more information, see the below links.

Photos from UNC Photo Shelter