Genesis and History

Genesis: History of the International Society for Otitis Media

The International Society for Otitis Media is a natural consequence of four decades of symposia on recent advances in otitis media, whose history is described below by pioneers Charles D. Bluestone, MD, David J. Lim, MD, and Jerome O. Klein, MD.

ear anatomy



One of the leading pioneers in the field of otitis media was the late Ben H. Senturia, MD, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at Washington University, and long-serving editor of the Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, who early on critically studied, classified, organized panels of experts, and reported on otitis media. In 1970, Ben published his nomenclature and classification of middle-ear effusions in an attempt to clarify the terminology at that time.1 He then convened and moderated a symposium in 1971 of a few investigators who were then conducting research in otitis media.2 That panel consisted of David Lim, MD; Gunner Proud, MD; and Charles Bluestone, MD who presented their findings. In 1974, Ben convened another panel on middle-ear effusions at the International Congress of Otolaryngology in Venice, Italy, among whose members were David J. Lim, MD; Stuart R. Mawson, FRCS; Tauna Palva, MD; Jacob Sade, MD; Mirko Tos, MD; and Charles D. Bluestone, MD; the Proceedings were later published.3


Following these early deliberations and publications, Ben H. Senturia, David J. Lim, and Charles D. Bluestone organized international symposia on otitis media. The purpose of these symposia is to bring together investigators whose research and clinical interests were focused on diseases of the middle ear; these included otolaryngologists, pediatricians, infectious disease experts, immunologists, pharmacologists, epidemiologists, statisticians, public health officials, and experts from government and industry from all continents interested in relieving the burden of otitis media and its sequelae from our patients and their families. Over the years, the symposia have served as a magnet for presentations of new information and meeting of young and senior investigators to stimulate new and productive research, to review current investigations, and consider the most productive avenues for future research.