|History of ACOMS|
Three men met over luncheon in Boston’s Copley Hotel in late 1947, good friends and pioneers in what would become the dental specialty of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
The American Society of Oral Surgeons (ASOS now AAOMS) at that time was an outgrowth of the American Society of Exodontists. They were a group of men with a widely diverse training and experience with few who were dealing with what were then considered "major cases”; i.e. congenital clefts, malignant neoplasia, TMJ, and salivary gland surgery.
W. Harry Archer, and Herbert J. Bloom listened as Kurt H. Thoma expressed thoughts about the formation of an organization of persons certified by the American Board of Oral Surgery (ABOS now ABOMS).
Dr. Thoma was of the opinion that Board certifications
would elicit those persons qualified in the major aspects of the specialty and
that an organization of certified Oral surgeons would permit and enhance more
rapid growth of the specialty.
Dr. Archer was critical of the leadership of the Board at that time with regard to such issues as allocation of funds, procedures of examination, self-perpetuating aspects, and accountability to membership. When he criticisms were ignored, he formed "The Committee of 100”. They were in essence 100 Board Certified Surgeons who shared his point of view. They became over succeeding years, the "Committee of 200 the actual forerunner of ACOMS.
In 1964 the concept of a new organization, The Association of Diplomates of the American Board of Oral Surgery (ADABOS), received support. The primary objective was to be the upgrading of the quality of the policies and practices of The American Board of Oral Surgery, (A.B.O.S.) in keeping with the best interests of the specialty. According to notes of Dr. Bloom the newly formed group was not intended to be a scientific organization in competition with the ASOS.
When pertinent issues were surfaced and challenged, the House of Delegates of the ASOS passed a resolution requiring the ASOS Board of Trustees to study and report on the various issues raised. It was anticipated that such an objective study would serve to initiate corrective measures, obviating the need for the ADABOS. When the study was presented it was highly criticized as not having met the goals for which it was created.
A continuing need to effect change led to the polling, in 1974, of all 1600 certified oral surgeons to determine:
Over fifty percent responded with 2:1 favoring the formation of an organization to serve the needs of the specialty and those so qualified.
The name chosen overwhelmingly was The American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (ACOMS), a name that had been proposed by Dr Chester Chorazy of Pennsylvania.
The Executive Committee of this newly named group met first in 1974 during the ASOS meeting in Las Vegas and drafted Bylaws and, upon the advice of counsel began the procedure for registration of the name with the U.S. Patent Office. The need to protect the name by trademark was deemed necessary for the following reasons:
The trademark was granted in 1975 and had been registered several years before ASOS. changed their name to AAOMS. At no time had ACOMS objected to their name change.
Several days prior to the finality of the trademark opposition period the Trustees of AAOMS filed an objection to the trademark. Litigation ensued and ACOMS prevailed.
For many people, years of misunderstanding and bad feelings were to follow and be the norm between the organizations. Enlightenment to the reality that we indeed are one family was a number of years away.
After the bylaws written by Dr. Herbert Bloom that defined ACOMS were adopted, the first formal meeting was held in Washington, D.C. in 1975.
The elected Presidents for the first fourteen years were:
The ACOMS being a smaller and thus more nimble organization was able to stay on the cutting edge of the most topical and interesting advances in head and neck surgery. The membership had access to speak with and learn from the best minds in their field. The meetings were held in one lecture hall only, promoting a more focused and enhanced learning experience that still remains desirable. The spirit of fellowship and congeniality amongst the members was natural and is an added benefit to the learning experience provided.
Gradually many of the issues that generated the initial formation of the Committee of 100 were resolved and remain so to this day.
One of the highlights of this era was the quarterly publication of the ACOMS. Review the work of Dr. John Westine. The Review, a newsletter, kept the membership abreast of the transactions of The College, took and published meaningful surveys, and filled the readers' spare moments with wonderful and useful trivia.
As the organizations matured and a larger picture came into view, many of the same people found themselves involved in activities of ACOMS, AAOMS, and ABOMS. There began an increasing dialog concerning the relationships of the organizations. We started to become us.
Beginning in 1998, the leadership of AAOMS and ACOMS began to meet on an annual basis to discuss organizational relationships and roles. The dialog has been respectful and productive to the clear benefit of all oral and maxillofacial surgeons.
The Presidents guiding the College in the modern era have been:
The goals of ACOMS, as envisioned by Dr. Kurt Herrmann Thoma of advancing our specialty by the interaction of our membership, are as worthy now as they ever were. We advance together.