It is with immense sadness that I inform the members of the EHNS of the passing of an outstanding laryngologist - Professor Jan Olofsson.
Jan Olofsson was trained in Malmö and Lund, Sweden and received his PhD from Linköping University. The base for his research was, however, initiated in Toronto where he spent some time working with Professor Douglas Price. In 1986 he became Head of the Department in Linköping, which he left in 1987 to become Professor and Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway. He was Director of the Head and Neck Division, Ass. CEO and Medical Director of both the hospital and trust. At the time of his passing he was Director of the Division of Oro-Maxillo-Facial Surgery and Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery.
He was a member of multiple scientific and professional societies and a Founding Member and Past President of the Scandinavian Society for Head and Neck Oncology (SSHNO), the European Laryngological Society (ELS) and a Founding Member of the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS). He was also a Founding Member of the newly created European Academy of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
Professor Olofsson was a Honorary Member of the German Society, German Academy and the Polish Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology/Head and Neck Surgery as well as the Belgian Royal Society of Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Surgery. He was a member of various Editorial Boards and Managing Editor of European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Head & Neck. He has edited proceedings and books and authored more than 250 publications in international journals, book chapters, mainly concerning head and neck oncology and laryngology. Last, but not least, he was elected President of EUFOS at the EUFOS-EA meeting in Vienna 2007.
When I was a young doctor, and had just finished my laryngology specialization, I was on a 6 month scholarship in London, after which I planned to carry out research and hone my skills in the field of head and neck oncology. The European Institute of Oncology recommended I turn to Professor Jan Olofsson, and so started a 25-year collaboration, that lasted till the Professor's passing in 2018. I spent 8 months at the Larygology Department in Bergen, carrying out reseach in the field of molecular biology of head and neck cancer. From the very start Professor Olofsson had impressed me with his vast knowledge, experience and incredible work ethic. Work filled all of his days, including Saturdays and Sundays. I quickly realized that this knowledge and experience are a combination of hard work and talent. A recipe for success. He was open-minded, always ready to discuss his ideas with opponents, convincing them to accept his arguments in a substantive and factual manner. He was always thinking 20 years ahead, which allowed him to be extremely innovative.
Professor Olofsson was an undisputed authority for his fellow professors, residents and students. His impressive activities left a lasting impression on European laryngology. Helped her evolve into many fields, join people in collaboration and shown how we can change the picture of European laryngology in a transparent and merit-based way.
Remembering Jan in many conversations with friends, especially with Professor Leemans, who also was one of the EHNS founders, we all shared the same thought - that he was an outstanding scientist and doctor as well as a great colleague and friend.
He will forever be in our memories.
Prof. Wojciech Golusinski