Mark Urken, MD

Specialty: Otolaryngology
Affiliation: Mount Sinai Health Systems
Telephone: 212-844-8775

About Dr. Urken

Dr. Urken graduated from the Lawrenceville School as the ranking scholar in the senior class in 1973. He attended Williams College and majored in biology. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year and graduated summa cum laude in 1977. He completed his medical education at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and then undertook 5 years of residency training, 2 in general surgery in the Tufts Surgical Service in Boston, and 3 years of specialty training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Urken completed advanced fellowship training in Head and Neck Microvascular Surgery at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh under the tutelage of Dr. Sebastian Arena. At the end of his fellowship, Dr. Urken returned to Mount Sinai Medical Center where he ultimately was appointed to the chairmanship of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 1995, after being promoted to the rank of full professor as one of the youngest to ever receive that honor.

In 2004, Dr. Urken was recruited to Beth Israel Medical Center and to Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, to assume the role of the Director of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and co-director of the Institute of the Head and Neck and Thyroid Cancer. Dr. Urken has directed one of the most successful head and neck surgical fellowship programs in the country and has trained over 25 fellows, many of whom have become leaders in academic medicine in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Following an extensive review process, the fellowship program was granted the honor of being a fully accredited program of the prestigious American Head and Neck Society. The annual post graduate courses in head and neck reconstructive surgery and thyroid and parathyroid disease management have been conducted over a 20 year period and regularly attract participants from all parts of the globe.

Dr. Urken has contributed significantly to the medical literature. In addition to publishing 250 articles in peer reviewed journals, he has also written 28 chapters and published 3 textbooks. Widely considered one of the leading experts in head and neck surgery and thyroid/parathyroid surgery, his experience in performing over 3000 microvascular free flaps in head and neck reconstruction, ranks among the highest of any single surgeon in the world. Dr. Urken has lectured extensively on a variety of topics in head and neck cancer, reconstruction, and thyroid and parathyroid disease.

In 2003, Dr. Urken developed the not for profit organization known as the THANC Foundation. (Thyroid Head and Neck Cancer). Since its inception, this foundation has raised over 15 million dollars to support educational, research and clinical care initiatives. The major programs of the THANC Foundation include: 1. sponsorship of the international Head and Neck Functional Outcomes Research Center, dedicated to studying the impact of cancer treatment on the function and quality of life of patients who are treated for head and neck cancer; 2. the development of the Lane Family web based program, known as the Head and Neck Cancer Guide, to support patients and their family members to assist in helping them cope with the diagnosis of head and neck cancer and the challenges that they will face in trying to overcome that disease; 3. the Thyroid Care Collaborative (TCC) an internet based program to assist patients in centralizing the data related to their thyroid cancer treatment, providing portable information, as well as education into their disease process and the decisions that need to be made at various points along the way. The TCC is an extensive program that is also structured to support clinicians in the care of patients with a variety of thyroid diseases, as well as to provide an education center for continuing education in thyroid disease management. The TCC is also designed to be a research tool to further our understanding of thyroid disease and to support multi-institutional clinical trials.


Education and Training
University of Virginia School of Medicine graduated 1981
Residency in Otolaryngology , Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY; 1986
Fellowship in Fellowship in Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery of the Head and Neck with Sebastian Arena, MD, Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 1987
Current Academic Appointment
Professor of Otolaryngology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Board Certification
Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgeon 1987
Presidential Citation American Head & Neck Society 2003
Outstanding Resident Teacher Award June 2016
Americas Top Doctors for Cancer 2006,2008,2010,2012,2014,2016


Institute for Head and Neck and Thyroid Cancer
10 Union Square East
Suite 5B
New York, NY 10003

Mount Sinai Downtown
10 Union Square East
Suite 5B
New York, NY 10003

Institute for Head and Neck and Thyroid Cancer
244 Westchester Ave
West Harrison, NY 10604


Dr. Urken is currently accepting new patients.

Appointment Hours:

Wednesday 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Selected Publications

1. Central compartment management in patients with papillary thyroid cancer presenting with metastatic disease to the lateral neck: Anatomic pathways of lymphatic spread. Likhterov I, Reis LL, Urken ML Head Neck. 2017 May;39(5):853-859.

2.Likhterov I, Tuttle RM, Haser GC, Su HK, Bergman D, Alon EE, Bernet V, Brett E, Cobin R, Dewey EH, Doherty G, Dos Reis LL, Klopper J, Lee SL, Lupo MA, Machac J, Mechanick JI, Milas M, Orloff L, Randolph G, Ross DS, Rowe ME, Smallridge R, Terris D, Tufano RP, Urken ML. “Improving the adoption of thyroid cancer clinical practice guidelines.” Laryngoscope. 2016 Apr 14. doi: 10.1002/lary.25986. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 27074952

3. Urken ML, Haser GC, Likhterov I, Wenig BM. “The impact of metastatic lymph nodes on risk stratification in differentiated thyroid cancer: Have we reached a higher level of understanding?” Thyroid: the official journal of the American Thyroid Association. 2016 March 15

4. Haser GC, Tuttle RM, Su HK, Alon EE,  Bergman D, Bernet V, Brett E, Cobin R, Dewey EH, Doherty G, Dos Reis LL, Harris J, Klopper J, Lee SL, Levine RA, Lepore SJ, Likhterov I, Lupo MA, Machac J, Mechanick JI, Mehra S, Milas M, Orloff L, Randolph G, Revenson TA, Roberts KJ, Ross DS, Rowe ME, Smallridge R, Terris D, Tufano RP, Urken ML. “Active Surveillance for Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinoma: New Challenges and Opportunities for the Health Care System.” Endocrine Practice (2015)

5.Scherl S, Mehra S, Dos Reis L, Persky M, Turk A, Husaini H, Urken Ml, Wenig B. (2014). The Effect Of Surgeon Experience On The Detection Of Metastatic Lymph Nodes In The Central Compartment And The Pathologic Features Of Clinically Unapparent Metastatic Lymph Nodes: What Are We Missing When We Don’t Perform A Prophylactic Dissection Of Central Compartment Lymph Nodes In Papillary Thyroid Cancer? Thyroid.

6. Mehra S, Urken ML, Tuttle RM, Milas M, et al. (2014) Database and Registry Research in Thyroid Cancer: Striving for a New and Improved National thyroid Cancer Database. Thyroid.

7. Alpert EH, Wenig B, Dewey EH, Su HK, Dos Reis LL, Urken ML. (2014) “Size distribution of metastatic lymph nodes with extranodal extension in patients with papillary thyroid cancer: a pilot study.”  Thyroid. 2015 Feb; 25(2):238-41.

8. Dos Reis LL, Tuttle RM, Bergman D, Bernet V, Brett E, Brierley J, Cobin R, Doherty G, Klopper J, Lee S, Milas M, Machac J, Mandel S, Mechanick JI, Orloff L, Randolph G, Ross D, Smallridge R, Terris D, Tufano R, Mehra S, Urken ML. What is the “Gold Standard” for Comprehensive Inter-Institutional Communication of Peri-Operative Information for Thyroid Cancer Patients? A Comparison of Existing Electronic Health Records with the current ATA recommendations. Thyroid. 24:1466-72.

9. Urken M, Mechanick, Sarlin J, Scherl S, Wenig B. Pathologic Reporting of Lymph Node Metastases in Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: a Call to Action for the College of American Pathologists.” Endocrine Pathology. 2014 Sep;25(3):214-8. DOI: 10.1007/s12022-013-9282-7.

10. Clain J, Scherl S, Dos Reis L, Turk A, Wenig B, Mehra S, Karle W, Urken ML. Extranodal Extension in Patients with Well Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Correlates with Extra-Thyroidal Extension: the case for continued upstaging of Minimal Extrathyroidal Extension. Thyroid. June 2014, 24(6): 951-957.

11.Saral Mehra, Robert M. Tuttle, …….Mark L. Urken. Improving the Quality of Thyroid Cancer Care: How Does The Thyroid Cancer Care Collaborative Cross the Institute of Medicine’s Quality Chasm? Thyroid. 2014 Apr;24(4):615-24.

12. Scherl S, Mehra S, Urken ML, Persky M et al   Clinically Non-Evident Central Compartment Nodal Disease: What are we missing when we don’t perform a prophylactic central compartment lymph node dissection. Thyroid. 2014 Aug;24(8):1282-8. doi: 10.1089/thy.2013.0600. Epub 2014 Jun 3