History of ABOto (adapted from the “American Board of Otolaryngology 1924-1999” by Robert W. Cantrell, MD and Jerome C. Goldstein, MD)
The first formal proposal for a standardized, prescribed post-graduate period of medical education was made at the 1912 meeting of the Triological Society and published in the Laryngoscope in 1913. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology (the two academies formally separated in the late 1977) embraced this initiative by establishing two committees to explore this concept and develop a plan. The otolaryngology committee consisted of representatives from the Academy, the American Laryngological Association, the American Otological Society, the AMA Section on Otolaryngology, and the Triological Society. The committee established, not without controversy, a recommended curriculum of training that should last three years, if possible. The ABOto accredited otolaryngology residencies until 1953 when the Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education assumed this responsibility.
Under pressure from the Academy, the ABOto was constituted in 1924 to develop a certifying examination, the first of which was administered in 1926. The certifying examination has evolved over the years from its original oral examination and a written histopathology examination. For several years, actual patients with otolaryngological conditions were used in various sites around the country in the “practical exam”. The current format of a multiple choice written and a structured oral examination was established in the 1970s, but has been significantly refined over the past thirty years.