Most medical students probably do not realize that otolaryngology is one of the oldest formally organized specialties within medicine. In 1896, a group of practicing ophthalmologists and otolaryngologists conducted a 2-day program of scientific presentations in Kansas City, which led to the formation of the Western Ophthalmological, Otological, Laryngological and Rhinological Association. This association was the genesis of the very first specialty board organization in the United States, the American Board of Ophthalmology, formed in 1917, and its successor, the American Board of Otolaryngology, formed in 1924.
In 1978 the specialty was renamed Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
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