When one of my professors asked of me, "Black, how many questions did you ask yourself today?" and without pause continued, "More importantly, how many of them did you answer?" he unknowingly launched my research career. When elected to the ARO presidency for the 1978-80 term, I discovered how many questions could be asked for which I could muster no answer.
At the outset of my tenure as ARO President, the AHO had its own first midwinter meeting and it was also holding a Research Forum in conjunction with the American Academy of Otolaryngology. The original purpose of the Forum was to provide an audience for residents who had performed research projects. Financial support for this purpose was the tie which bound ARO to the Academy. During the seventies, ARO membership rapidly expanded as Otolaryngology Departments around the country developed and added to their research faculties. Interest rapidly evolved for a common ground organization through which to communicate scientific ideas and debate, discuss mutual problems - especially the decline in readily available research support, and put forth a common set of goals to professional and political leaders. The time constraints imposed by the Academy meeting format and the multiple, often temporally conflicting responsibilities of many key ARO leaders were obliged, as a first priority to attend to Academy activities eventually led to a separate midwinter meeting in January, 1978.
This bold step was championed primarily by David Lim. Dave almost single handedly engineered the "New ARO" while preserving the jointly sponsored research forum for residents held yearly as a satellite conference of the fall Academy meeting. Except for the founding of the Research Committee in the late 1950's and early 60's, the transition to an independent, self-supporting, scientifically rigorous research in formation exchange was, in retrospect, a pivotal transformation in the development of ARO.
The growing ARO membership continues to ask the key questions. Moreover, we are getting answers which contribute to advances in both basic and clinical sciences. The opportunity to participate in all aspects of ARO activities was, and is a unique and exciting adventure. To quote Helen Keller "Life is an exciting adventure or it is nothing."
Owen Black, M.D.