Our Ear, Nose and Throat Professionals
Benjamin Douglas, MD, FACS
Dr. Benjamin Douglas, a native of Tryon, NC, completed his undergraduate and medical degrees at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975. After internship at The University of Florida's Shands Hospital and two years as an Army primary care clinic commander in Germany, he spent 4 years in Otolaryngology residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Army assignments as Chief of Otolaryngology at Ft Bragg, NC and Assistant Chief at Letterman AMC in San Francisco ended with his return to practice in the NC mountains in 1985. Dr. Douglas founded Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates alongside Greg Salyer, Au.D., his audiology associate and friend from Ft Bragg. For more than 30 years Dr. Douglas served patients in his office locations in Sylva and Franklin with outreach clinics during that time to Bryson City, Robbinsville, and Murphy. He has provided clinical ENT consultation to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians with biweekly clinics. He also championed a sinus center and new location in Asheville as Mountain ENT became the premier location for In-Office Balloon Sinuplasty in the region, recognized as a Stryker Medical National Center of Excellence. A general Otolaryngologist, Dr. Douglas spent his career serving the needs of the community he loved, particularly in diseases which affect children, sinus and nasal problems, and ear disease. Dr. Douglas retired in December 2019 but remains as a mentor, advisor and trusted friend to the Mountain ENT team.
John E. Buenting, MD, MPH
A native of California, Dr. John E. Buenting received both his Masters Degree in Public Health and Medical Degree from Tulane University in 1991. He completed his Otolaryngology Surgery residency at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996 and remained as a faculty member at UNC, rising to the rank of Clinical Associate Professor. In 2003 Dr. Buenting joined Dr. Douglas in practice at Mountain ENT, bringing with him a strong clinical background as well as his fun-loving sense of humor and attentive bedside manner. Dr. Buenting’s ability to speak medical Spanish has proven an asset for our practice in serving many members of the surrounding counties. As a general Otolaryngologist, Dr. Buenting enjoys serving both the adult and pediatric community, and has a strong interest in treating sinus problems and allergies. Dr. Buenting is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, where he continues to teach courses for other ENT physicians each year at the annual meeting. Dr. Buenting's many peer-reviewed articles have appeared in, among other publications, the American Journal of Rhinology; Journal of Applied Physiology; and the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology. Dr. Buenting is also a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, the American Rhinologic Society, the North Carolina Society of Otolaryngology and the North Carolina Medical Society.
Shawn D. Kosnik, DO, FACS
Dr. Shawn D. Kosnik received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University in 1992 and his medical degree in 1996 from MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Upon entering active duty in the United States Navy in 1996, Dr. Kosnik completed a 1 year internship in Pensacola, Florida, followed by a 2 year term as a general medical officer with the US Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and deployment to the Mediterranean where he served as Marine Expeditionary Unit Surgeon and then as Senior Clinic Medical Officer. Dr Kosnik completed a five year Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery residency at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. His 13 years of active duty in the Navy ended with a five year term as an Otolaryngologist at Camp Lejeune, where he served as Otolaryngology Department Head for three years. In the summer of 2009, Dr. Kosnik joined Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates. He demonstrates expertise in nasal and sinus surgery as well as thyroid and parathyroid surgeries and has a keen interest in aspects of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Kosnik is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Kosnik is a member of the North Carolina Medical Society, the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the North Carolina Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.
Jaron M. Densky, MD
Dr. Jaron M. Densky is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee. He completed his undergraduate and Medical School education at the University of Tennessee where he was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. In 2020, Dr. Densky completed his residency in Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. With a strong desire to come home to the mountains, he joined the Mountain Ear Nose and Throat team in the summer of 2020. Dr. Densky is particularly interested in treatments for head and neck cancer, ear disease, nasal airway surgery and sleep surgery. He is the only ENT surgeon in our region certified to implant hypoglossal nerve stimulators for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea that are intolerant to CPAP, and is looking forward to bringing this technology to our local community. Dr. Denksy believes strongly in the benefits of patient education and building relationships in order to make healthcare decisions as a physician-patient team. He is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology.
Robin Pope, Ph.D., PA-C, FAWM
Chief Physician Assistant
Dr. Pope graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Geology and Geophysics. He attended North Carolina State University where he earned a M.S. and Ph.D. in Oceanography. During his work as an oceanographer, Dr. Pope provided medical care for ill and injured fellow scientists, which led to his decision to change careers.
After working for several years with an EMS agency, Dr. Pope graduated from Duke University’s PA program in 2001. His first 3 years as a PA were spent working in an inner city emergency department in Durham, NC. In 2005, he joined Sylva Orthopaedic Associates / Harris Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. While at Harris Orthopaedics, he completed advanced training in concussion management which led to an interest in a wider range of ENT issues. With his vast experience and superior clinical skills, Dr. Pope was welcomed to the staff of Mountain ENT in the summer of 2017. He has particular interests in the treatment of allergies and asthma, in injury and illness prevention, and in the prevention and treatment of sinus issues affecting athletes.
Dr. Pope is active in several community organizations including the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the American Canoe Association (ACA). Dr. Pope is a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants and the Society of Physician Assistants in Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Paige Snow Brinke, MS, PA-C
Paige Snow Brinke was born and raised in Murphy, NC. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997. She then attended George Washington University in Washington, DC where she received a Masters of Health Sciences and her Physician Assistant Degree. She began her career as a Physician Assistant in Internal Medicine at Asheville Internal Medicine where she practiced for five years before returning to her home town of Murphy, NC. She then worked at Peachtree Internal Medicine for 15 years. Internal Medicine led to her interest in ENT specialty practice and she joined the team at Mountain ENT in August of 2018 to provide consistent care in the Murphy clinic. She enjoys surgical procedures and has a particular interest in serving those people in her local community. Through the years she has worked part time as a Physician Assistant for Cherokee County Jail, Cherokee County Health Department, Hiawassee Dam School Based Health Center and Appalachian Community Services.
She has served on the United Way Board of Directors, Reach Board of Directors and the Operations Board for the Hiwassee Valley Pool and Wellness Center and she is a youth counselor for her local church. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Society of Physician Assistants in Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Kristen Brooks, PA-C
Kristen Brooks, a native of eastern North Carolina, completed her undergraduate degree at Western Carolina University where she was a member of the Catamounts Division I Softball team. She joined the Mountain ENT staff in 2013 and worked as Clinical Coordinator, serving as the lead Medical Assistant to Dr. Ben Douglas; overseeing clinical staff, equipment and clinical scheduling.
In 2019 she entered the Physician Assistant program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, rejoining Mountain ENT as a PA in January 2021. Kristen has a strong desire to give back to her community and work in rural medicine. She is excited to return to the patients she loves and have the opportunity to continue their care and treatment as a provider. With her previous ENT experience, respectable bedside manner and enthusiasm to help others, we are eager to welcome her back to the Mountain Ear, Nose and Throat family.
Kristen is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, North Carolina Association of Physician Assistants, and the Society of Physician Assistants in Otorhinolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery.
Selena J. Rogers, Au.D.
Born and raised in Western North Carolina, Selena J. Rogers, Au.D. has practiced audiology in the mountains for more than 15 years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Communication Disorders Program at Western Carolina University in 2000. Dr. Rogers earned her Masters Degree in 2002 From East Tennessee State University and completed a clinical fellowship in Audiology at Central Carolina Ear, Nose & Throat the same year. Upon becoming board certified by the NC Board of Examiners for Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, Dr. Rogers joined the staff at Salyer Hearing Center in 2003 and has worked diligently with the patients of Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat and Salyer Hearing since that time. Dr. Rogers earned her Clinical Doctorate in Audiology from Salus University in 2010. She is specifically interested in seeing the functional improvement in our pediatric patients following surgery as well as addressing the specific communications needs of our elderly population. Dr. Rogers is an active Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
John R. Smith, Jr., Au.D.
In October 2012, Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates and Salyer Hearing Center, PLLC were pleased to welcome John R. Smith Jr. Au.D. Dr. Smith has been a practicing audiologist in Western North Carolina since January of 2005. He completed his graduate work in audiology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1992. His clinical fellowship year was with Southeastern Speech and Hearing in Fayetteville, NC, followed by a 10 year position as a clinical audiologist with the Pinehurst Surgical Clinic in Pinehurst, NC. Since moving to the mountains, he has earned his Clinical Doctorate in Audiology from Salus University in 2009, while working as a dispensing audiologist in a private practice. He is an active Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, and has been licensed by the NC Board of Examiners for Speech Language Pathology and Audiology since 1994. Dr. Smith is very excited to be a part of the Mountain ENT and Salyer Hearing practices and returning to a more clinical setting to offer our patients the best in clinical audiology as well as hearing aid sales, fittings and service.
Nina M. Thomas, Au.D.
As an East Tennessee native, Nina Thomas, Au.D. found her way back to the mountains when she joined Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates and Salyer Hearing Center, PLLC in 2021. Dr. Thomas received her Bachelor's in Audiology and Speech Pathology from the University of Tennessee in 2017. She then earned her Clinical Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2021. She has completed rotations at a variety of Ear Nose and Throat practices located in Knoxville, TN and Charleston, SC, and completed a rotation at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Dr. Thomas is passionate about providing ethical diagnostic testing and treatment ranging from the pediatric population through the lifespan. She will be seeing patients in our audiology and hearing aid clinics in Asheville, Sylva and Murphy.