A Brief History of the Korean-American Otolaryngology Society

Timothy Tae Kun Jung, MD, PhD

Steven Sung Kyun Juhn, MD


Starting in early 1970s, Korean otolaryngologists from academic centers and some private practices began to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO). Korean-American otolaryngologists who had finished residency programs in the US in the 1960s and had been practicing in the US, as well as researchers working in the field of otolaryngology, also attended the Annual Meeting of the AAO. The Korean-Americans would gather together and welcome the visiting Korean otolaryngologists for a casual dinner. According to Dr. James Chin-Mook Chung, early sponsors of these meetings included Dr. Sammy Lee, the Olympic diving medalist and otolaryngologist practicing in Anaheim, CA. These dinner meetings were spontaneous and served to promote friendship.

As time went on, the Korean otolaryngologists from both sides of the Pacific attending these dinner meetings grew in number. It soon became necessary to organize these get-togethers to regularly scheduled annual meetings. It was during the 1989 New Orleans AAO meeting that the name “Korean-American Otolaryngology Society” (KAOS) was first used. Officers were chosen as follows: Steven K. Juhn, MD as President; Timothy T. K. Jung, MD, PhD as General Secretary; Council (Board) Members: Young Bin Choo, MD, Chinmook Chung, MD, Hyun Taik Cho, MD, David J. Lim, MD, Ki Hyun Han, MD, S.K. Juhn, MD. Annual dues were set at $30.00 (See attached letter from Dr. Juhn). Even before the KAOS was organized, Professor Juhn from the University of Minnesota volunteered to organize these meetings by sending out announcements for the meetings starting in the early 1970s.

Growth of KAOS

In the years from 1990 to 2009, KAOS meetings were held every year during the Annual Meetings of the AAO-HNS with Dr. Juhn serving as President and Dr. Jung as Secretary/Treasurer. In 1999 during the KAOS business meeting, the By Laws of the KAOS, drafted by Jae Ryu, PhD, a vestibular scientist from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, were approved.

By the 1992 Washington, DC meeting, the number of otolaryngologists visiting from Korea exceeded the number of Korean-American otolaryngologists by far. The membership dues for the KAOS were raised to $50 from $30 in the year 2002. The KAOS was accepted to the Korean-American Medical Association (KAMA) as an affiliate chapter on September 3, 2003. By this action, the KAOS became a non-profit organization.

In 2003, lectures were being incorporated into the annual meeting. The following lectures were delivered during the KAOS meetings from 2003 to 2008:

  • 2003 (Orlando): “Role of Ototopicals in the Treatment of Otitis Externa and Otitis Media” by Dr. Timothy Jung
  • 2004 (New York City): “Stem Cell in Otological Research” by Dr. Steven Juhn
  • 2005 (Los Angeles): “What’s New in Otologic Research” by Dr. David Lim
  • 2007 (Washington, DC): “Pediatric Hearing Loss” by Dr. Albert Park
  • 2008 (Chicago): “Subclassication of Chronic Sinusitis” by Dr. Joseph Han

All the KAOS dinner meetings until 2008 were held at local restaurants except the 2005 Los Angeles meeting, which was held at the Oxford Palace Hotel.

The KAOS Travel Grant

Several board members of the KAOS began discussing starting a travel grant for students, residents, and fellows to enable them to attend the AAO-HNS and KAOS meetings when sufficient funds became available. Educational grant was received to start the travel grant. Thus began the Travel Grant from the KAOS in 2004.

From 2004 to 2015, sixty one residents and fellows from both Korea and the US received KAOS Travel Grants to attend the Annual AAO Meetings or Annual Midwinter Meeting of Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO).

(Figure 1D).

Korean-American Satellite Symposium

In 2008, during the Chicago KAOS meeting, Dr. Chul Hee Lee, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Korean Society of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (KSORL), approached officers of the KAOS and informed them that the KSORL would like to support the KAOS and its educational endeavors. From KSORL’s support, the Korean-American Satellite Symposium (KASS) was created.

It was decided that the KASS would be jointly sponsored by the KAOS and the KSORL with the support of the AAO-HNS. The programs for KASS would be determined jointly by the KAOS and the KSORL, and the KAOS will help to secure venues and details of the dinner for the meeting and continue to provide travel grants. The dinner expenses would be supported by KSORL. In this manner, the annual KAOS meeting was able to incorporate KASS into the annual meeting.

The first KASS was held at the San Diego Marriott Hotel in San Diego, CA on October 3, 2009. The scientific program was prepared by Dr. Joseph Han, the secretary general of the KAOS and Dr. Won Ho Chung of the Samsung Medical Center and director of Scientific Committee of KORL-HNS, along with consultation by Dr. Timothy Jung. The meeting was a resounding success. The scientific program covered rhinology, head & neck surgery, otology, facial plastics and laryngology. There were two well-known speakers for each session. The meeting started at 13:00 and ended at 17:30 followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant. A copy of the first KASS program in San Diego is attached (Figure 2). The second annual KASS was held at Antony’s Pier 4 Restaurant overlooking the Boston Harbor on September 26, 2010. Speakers included Drs. Steven Juhn, Se-Heon Kim, John Rhee, Robert Ossoff, and Michael McKenna. Dr. Eun Chang Choi, the chairman of the Board of the KORL-HNS for 2010 and 2011 was present at the meeting. The brochure for the second KASS is attached (Figure 3). Dr. John Yun, who was the treasurer of KAOS, organized the venue and dinner. KASS has had a successful meeting every year since its creation.

New Officers and By Laws for the KAOS

After the 2009 the KAOS meeting, Dr. Steven Juhn expressed his desire to resign the presidency of the KAOS and recommended Dr. Timothy Jung to take his place. After approval by the board, Dr. Jung assumed the KAOS presidency since 2010. KAOS Officers elected were Dr. Joseph Han as Secretary General, Dr. John Yun as Treasurer, and Dr. Albert Park as Board of Directors in charge of the Travel Grant. Dr. Stella Lee was later added as Membership Director. Board members of the KAOS were Drs. Jeffrey Ahn, Hyun Taek Cho, Joseph Han, Steven Juhn, Timothy Jung, Albert Park, David Lim, and John Yun.

Dr. Jung outlined several goals as the President of the KAOS from 2010 to 2014. They included holding successful annual Korean-American Satellite Symposium, promoting fellowship between Korean-American otolaryngologists in the US and also with members of the KORL-HNS, fostering participation of second generation Korean-American otolaryngologists in the KAOS and KASS, and extending our presence to the national level with the AAO and KAMA.

After the 2014 Orlando KASS meeting, the KAOS Board met and selected new officers: Drs. Joseph Han as President, Albert Park as President Elect, Jeffrey Suh as Secretary, Do-Yeon Cho as Treasurer, Stella Lee as Membership, David Chi as Information Technology, and Judith Liu in charge of Scholarship with an Auditor to be named. Board Members were all officers and Drs. Timothy Jung, John Yun, David Lim, Steven Juhn. The Minutes for this meeting are attached (Figure ) Dr. Joseph Han, in his role as the new President, proposed new KAOS By Laws which were passed. A mission statement was proposed and adopted. Dr. Albert Park prepared the program for the upcoming KASS. Dr. Do-Yeon Cho began preparing for a venue and dinner for the upcoming 2015 KASS in Dallas, TX. Several board meetings have been held via phone.

The Future of the Korean-American Otolaryngology Society

The simple beginning of casual dinners at the Annual AAO Meeting by a few Korean-American otolaryngologists to welcome their Korean counterparts has grown into the well-respected scientific and social meetings of the KAOS and the KASS. No other group has organized and evolved to host these types of meetings, and it is the envy of other nationals visiting the Annual AAO Meeting. The Officers of the AAO-HNS have recognized the KAOS as a model society and and have been encouraging other countries to emulate the KAOS.

The number of second-generation Korean-American otolaryngologists as of 2015 is estimated to be more than three hundred. The potential of the KAOS is unlimited if the younger generation continues to participate and work together as part of the KAOS.