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Special 10th Anniversary Edition: February 1987






Top: Happy Dolphin Inn, St. Petersburg Beach, FL. ARO Midwinter Meetings, 1978-1984. Bottom: Holiday Inn Clearwater Beach Surfside, ARO Midwinter Meetings 1985-1987.







With this midwinter meeting, ARO celebrates the 10th birthday of the fulfillment of David Lim's dream: an intensive scientific meeting for researchers in the field of otolaryngology held informally and economically in a warm climate. I think it is fair to say that none of us who attended the first MWM in 1978 envisioned the dramatic growth of the organization and the changes that have taken place in the ensuing decade. This special edition of the ARO News is dedicated to chronicling the growth of ARO since 1978 and to capturing the flavor of what ARO has meant to some of those involved in its gestation, birth, and now progress toward adolescence.
This special issue contains three sections. One is a formal history of ARO prepared by David Lim, our Editor-Historian. The purpose is to store in a somewhat archival form the records concerning ARO's history. It traces ARO's roots from the ideas of forward-thinking researchers and clinicians to the execution of research meetings held first with the Academy and then as a
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separate meeting in Florida. The second part of the issue contains personal impressions and reminiscences from some of those who have served in official capacities for ARO over the past decade. Finally, a collage of photographs intended to capture the flavor of the meetings has been assembled. The editor is grateful to Hal Schuknecht, David Lim, Norma Slepecky and Cesar Fermin for supplying pictures for the collage.

David J. Lim, Editor-Historian

Historically, the ARO was an outgrowth of the Committee for Research of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology (AAOO). Thus a brief review of the history of the Committee for Research is appropriate for understanding the genesis of the ARO.
In the early days (1950-70), research in otolaryngology was conducted largely by clinicians and by a handful of non-clinician M.D.'s and Ph.D.'s who were in departments of otolaryngology as fulltime researchers. They formed their Research Meeting and met in conjunction with the AAOO, as described by Juergen Tonndorf in his article in this newsletter. According to Hal Schuknecht, "In 1955 the Subcommittee for Research of the Committee for the Conservation of Hearing of the AAOO became actively engaged in stimulating research in otology. During the next several years, the committee sponsored several exhibits on human temporal bone pathology at the annual meetings of the AAOO with emphasis on the scientific value of this endeavor and on the technique for removal. Funds for these exhibits were provided by the AAOO. In 1960, the Committee for the Conservation of Hearing was phased out, and the AAOO created a Committee for Research. This committee adopted the objectives of the former subcommittee. In addition to exhibits, the committee established annual research meetings and awards for (residents') research." Most of the topics dealt with experimental surgery, histopathology, and audiology. Audiologists, psychoacousticians, and physiologists opted to take the Acoustical Society of America or other meetings as their forum.


The ARO was unaware of an unexpected event that would help its destiny. At the 1976 AAOO convention, after much talk, it was finally decided to split the academy into otolaryngology and ophthalmology. The focal point of debate at this time was what form the newly organized academy of otolaryngology should take and what role it should play among the otolaryngic societies. This anticipated sudden structural change of the academy also forced ARO to think of its own future and what role it could or should play in the new academy. ARO appointed Max Abramson, Bill Stebbins and Chuck Berlin to the Future Committee to develop a consensus among its members. ARO was invited to send its delegates to the Intra-Specialty Conference of Otolaryngological Societies called upon by the Division of Otolaryngology of the academy. The meeting was held at the O'Hare Hilton on September 11, 1976, and I was one of the two ARO delegates. The major debate focused on the role of the newly organized organization. One overwhelming concern was the financial burden the split would bring to the otolaryngological division of the academy, because the otolaryngology membership was far smaller than the ophthalmology membership. To overcome this difficulty, the idea was developed to form a federated meeting with shared financial responsibility. In this new structure, the academy could maintain its role in education, such as instructional courses, exhibits and continuing education, and the remaining part of the meeting would be shared by the other senior societies (such as the Triological Society and American Otological Society) for their scientific sessions. For such a federation, each participating society would be assessed $5.00 for each member to provide financial support. ARO with its $500 bank account could offer only moral support in that difficult time for the academy. To provide a greater voice in the proposed federation, a membership drive was initiated at the suggestion of Ralph Naunton.
The role ARO should play in this newly organized federation and the future of the ARO was debated earnestly by the members of the council, the Future Committee, and the members at large. A majority felt that we should stay with the academy;


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