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Faculty Focus

Rodrigo BayonRodrigo Bayon, MD

What is your hometown?

I was born in Bogota, Colombia and grew up in Miami, Florida.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?


How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?

I have been interested in science since a very early age.

I became interested in medicine at age 6, after my father had a medical emergency and I was able to witness paramedics and doctors caring for him.

What interested you to pursue a career in Otolaryngology?

My interest in otolaryngology started during medical school in anatomy class. I was fascinated by the complexity of the head and neck anatomy and how so many important structures could be located in such small real estate.

Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?

I have had several mentors during my training.

One of my attending physicians, Harold Pelzer, was the reason I chose to become a head and neck cancer specialist. He is a head and neck surgeon at Northwestern Hospital

Richard Hayden, who was my mentor during my cancer and reconstructive surgery fellowship, has really shaped the way I interact with and treat cancer patients.

How or why did you choose the University of Iowa?

I chose the University of Iowa for its long standing excellence in Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, and because of the department’s incredible collegiality and team work.

What kinds of professional opportunities or advantages does being a faculty member at an academic medical center provide?

I get to work with some of the best and brightest minds on a daily basis, whether it’s within our own department or collaborating with colleagues in other departments.

Please describe your professional interests.

I am interested in the surgical management of head and neck cancers including trans-oral robotic assisted approaches to the pharynx and larynx. I am also interested in complex reconstruction of the head and neck.

What led to your interest in your field?

I decided to become a head and neck specialist, in large part, because of my father who was diagnosed and treated for a vocal cord cancer.

How does working in a collaborative and comprehensive academic medical center benefit your work?

Working at an institution like UIHC, allows me to offer cancer patients the state of the art in treatment and a multi-disciplinary approach to their cancer.

What are some of your outside interests?

I enjoy spending time with my family, listening to and playing music, and running.

Do you have an insight or philosophy that guides you in your professional work?

I try to treat my patients as I would my family. I think about how I would want a member of my family treated and ultimately cared for.

If you could change one thing about the world (or the world of medicine/science), what would it be?

I wouldn’t mind a few extra hours each day!

What is the biggest change you've experienced in your field since you were a student?

Technologic advancements including PET/CT and surgical robotics.

What one piece of advice would you give to today's students?

Don’t let the temptation of taking the easy road prevent you from doing the right thing for the patient.

What do you see as "the future" of medicine/science?

I see the fields of surgical robotics and telemedicine becoming a much larger presence in the management of patients.