The organization of ophthalmologists and otorhinolaryngologists in the osteopathic profession began in 1908 with the establishment of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Section of the American Osteopathic Association. This group has continued through the years to conduct an educational program in ophthalmology and otorhinolaryngology in connection with the programs of the American Osteopathic Association.
In 1916 an independent organization was formed to provide organized sponsorship for the Section and an enlarged scope of activity in the training and development of specialists in this field of practice. This organization began the American Osteopathic Society of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology.
In 1928 the need became apparent for an organization composed solely of those in the profession who devoted their entire time to ophthalmology and/or otorhinolaryngology, and whose qualifications were to be determined by examination, written, oral and practical, for advanced study, research and highly technical programs in this field. This organization became the International Society of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, which represented the then “approved” group of specialists in this field. The International Society later became the nucleus for the “Certified” group of ophthalmologists and otorhinolaryngologists in the American Osteopathic Association.
In 1944 the American Society and the International Society officially disbanded and joined in a coalition organization known as the Osteopathic College of Ophthalmology and Otorhinolaryngology, with a graduated membership which consisted of Fellows, Seniors and Juniors, and a provision for Associates who were guests without membership status.
This organization assumed all professional and financial obligations of its predecessor organizations, including sponsorship of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Section of the American Osteopathic Association and became, and continues to be, the official organization of ophthalmologists and otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons in the osteopathic profession.
In 1995, in order to meet the needs of the individual specialty colleges, the College was redefined and renamed to be the American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. This has allowed the separate functioning of the individual Colleges under the combined umbrella. The individuality of the Colleges has been ensured in order to allow them to participate more fully in the highly specialized areas of interest. The Board of Governors of the American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery are composed of the Officers of the individual Colleges. The overall fiscal responsibility for the combined Colleges is shared at this level, as is the general organizational structure. Each individual College is responsible for its own administrative duties and its interprofessional relationships.