International Guest of Honor: German Society of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery

May 2020 – Vol. 39, No. 4

The German Society of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery—100+ Years of Excellence

Andreas Dietz, MD, PhD, President
Hans J. Welkoborsky, MD, DDS, PhD, Secretary

As President of the AAO-HNS/F, it is my distinct honor and privilege to welcome the German delegation to the AAO-HNSF 2020 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience in Boston, Massachusetts, September 13-16. We look forward to the opportunity for continued friendship, camaraderie, and networking among friends and colleagues at the meeting.

— Duane J. Taylor, MD, President, AAO-HNS/F

Andreas Dietz, MD, PhD

The German Society of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (DGHNO-KHC) has its roots going back to 1894. Two German otolaryngology societies existed with the German Otologic Society (Deutsche Otologische Gesellschaft) and the Society of German Laryngologists (Verein Deutscher Laryngologen). With increasing knowledge in the fields, it became evident that one single society would enhance the impact of otolaryngology and probably improve research. Both societies were united in 1921 to the new Society of German Oto-Rhino-Laryngologists, which was renamed to the present name, the German Society of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery in 1968. Thus, although scientific and clinical otolaryngology has existed in Germany since the 19th century, the actual society will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021.

The society is dedicated to supporting the development of otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery in patient care, research, and education, and to improve the excellence in all fields of otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery as a united association. The development and evaluation of scientific guidelines for patient care is one of the most important tasks of the society. The society is headed by a board of 11 governors, representing all facets of the field.

Hans J. Welkoborsky, MD, DDS, PhD

Today, the society has more than 5,000 members. They are either employed in one of the 140 ENT departments in teaching hospitals or in one of the 36 university ENT departments. Under the umbrella of the society, 20 self-organized subspecialty working groups were founded—pediatric otolaryngology, head and neck oncology, otology and neuro-otology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, allergy, endoscopy, ultrasound, and sleep medicine. They each provide specific standards for patient care, scientific development, and clinical practice guidelines and govern the state of the art in their subspecialty.

Another main issue of the society’s work is the support of young physicians and young researchers to develop the next generation of otorhinolaryngologists. To support brilliant young researchers and to serve as an incentive for scientific work, the society offers grants and scholarships to deserving fellows, as well as travel grants. The society runs the ENT Academy, which offers academic educational courses during the annual meeting and is decentralized at different places and hospitals.

In 1864 the first scientific journal (Archiv für Ohrenheilkunde) was founded. Some years later came the Archiv für Laryngologie. Today the society publishes two German language scientific journals that are indexed in PubMed and Medline (Laryngo-Rhino-Otologie and HNO). Furthermore, the German Society of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery is closely linked to the Interdisciplinary Working Group of Head and Neck Oncology (IAG-KHT) of the German Cancer Society (DKG), which is embedded into the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS). This highly effective network is mandatory to keep competence in the hands of head and neck surgeons who are mainly based in ENT in Germany. Other strong links exist to the European Laryngeal Society (ELS) and many international societies all over the world.

In the last decades, many international connections and collaborations between the German Society and foreign ENT societies all over the world have been developed and implemented. Many German clinicians and scientists present at the AAO-HNSF Annual Meetings, and many American researchers and clinicians present at the German Annual Meeting, emphasizing the close relationship between the German and American societies.