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Release: June 13, 2000

UI Health Care specialist to lead online chat on ear infections in children

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Richard J. Smith, M.D., professor of otolaryngology with University of Iowa Health Care, will lead an hour-long, online question-and-answer discussion on ear infections in children with a nationwide audience from 8 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 14.

The online chat will be hosted by and can be accessed by entering through the home page under "Upcoming Events."

Ear infections are common in children. They may affect the external ear, the middle ear or the internal ear, and usually require a specialist's care. In spite of their commonality, there is still some misunderstanding among parents as to what is the most effective way to cure an ear infection. Smith will discuss diagnosis and treatment approaches and answer questions associated with this pediatric condition.

After receiving his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, Smith completed his residencies in surgery/medicine at the University of Texas Houston Affiliated Hospitals in Houston, and in otolaryngology at Baylor Medical Center in Houston. He also completed fellowships in genetics at the Institute of Hearing Research in Nottingham, England, and in pediatric otolaryngology at the Hospital for Sick Children in London, England. Smith joined UI Health Care in 1991.

Smith's clinical expertise is in pediatric otolaryngology, congenital ear deformity, airway reconstruction, treatment of congenital anomalies in the blood and lymph vessels, and treatment of subglottic strictures and gastroesophageal reflux.

A calendar of other upcoming chats by UI Health Care professionals and dialogue from past chats can be accessed by logging on to and clicking on the logo at the bottom of the page.

UI Health Care's partnership with is part of an increasing trend in health care toward enhancing consumer services through the Internet. According to recent statistics compiled by Cyber Dialogue, a New York firm that tracks Internet commerce, there are approximately 22 million World Wide Web users seeking health information over the Internet. Cyber Dialogue projects that number to increase to 33 million over the next year.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.