Published: May 27, 2021

125 Year Celebration at the AAO-HNSF 2021 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience

Uniting the specialty as one has always been the point of the Annual Meeting.

125 BadgeJames C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F Executive Vice President and CEO

Uniting the specialty as one has always been the point of the Annual Meeting, even from its conception back in 1896 when Hal Foster, MD, sent more than 500 invitations to southern and western U.S. physicians engaged in ophthalmology and otolaryngology. It was that action by one person and then those who responded that set in motion a rich and robust history of the annual gathering of the AAO-HNS/F. 

Throughout our history, various challenges have presented themselves to try and prevent our annual gathering. It is amazing that in 125 years there is only one year in which a meeting did not occur. In 1945, for what should have been the 50th meeting, the needs of country took priority as directives from the Office of Defense Transportation to reserve hotel rooms, bus seats, and plane seats for military personnel in the later days of World War II redeployment caused its cancellation. Considering the response to our first Virtual Annual Meeting in 2020, there is no doubt that if the technology was available back in 1945, it is very likely that the annual gathering of otolaryngology minds would have still occurred. 

Throughout history, the Annual Meeting has always been a treasured experience as each generation of otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons forge their path in the specialty and engage with their Academy. The perseverance to meet and connect in an atmosphere that cultivates an invigorating and innovative scientific program is at the core of what the Annual Meeting means to this specialty and those who participate. 

The Annual Meetings equate to memories that are engrained in individuals’ journeys as otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons. There is no doubt that those who have attended in years past have defining milestone moments in their professional careers that were shaped at the Annual Meeting. And for those who have their first Annual Meeting on the horizon, yours are yet to come. 

The Annual Meeting provides this unique space—a shared environment where there is a common bond of understanding of the challenges, opportunities, complexities, joys, and heartache that comes with patient care of the intricate ear, nose, throat, and head and neck. 

The AAO-HNS/F leadership and Annual Meeting Program Committee have developed a 2021 program that not only engages you in an innovative and cutting-edge education program but also presents our global otolaryngology community with the opportunity to connect in ways that we have missed for more than a year. 

The following pages give you just a glimpse at some of the programming with the keynote speaker, honorary guest lecturers, and AAO-HNS/F EVP and CEO special sessions. As there is so much more in store for our 125th Anniversary, stay up to date with the latest information and programming details by bookmarking

I am truly excited about our upcoming meeting in Los Angeles! We are celebrating our organization’s 125th anniversary with an innovative program, a specialty-wide Presidents’ Reception held at Xbox Plaza and hosted by AAO-HNS/F President Carol R. Bradford, MD, MS, honoring current and Past Presidents of all specialty societies, and most of all, a chance for personal interaction with new and old friends for the first time in two years. 

The event that I am anticipating the most is the inaugural ENTrepreneur Faceoff. Throughout the history of our specialty and organization, we have been blessed with a series of new devices, treatments, and innovations that have expanded and advanced our specialty and organization. Currently, we are all benefitting from new technologies in the otolaryngology space and this competition, facilitated by the support of the Medical Devices and Drugs Committee, will feature the best and brightest inventers in our specialty “facing-off” against each other in a friendly competition with a ”Shark Tank” type format in front of a live audience that includes potential partners and investors followed by a reception. We could be previewing the next generation of care-improving products allowing us to take better care of patients. This promises to be a highlight of this year’s meeting and a mainstay event at future Annual Meetings. I look forward to seeing you all at this groundbreaking event.