A Brief History of
The American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics
by V. A. Chalian, D.D.S., M.S.
The American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics was founded in 1953 by Drs. Aelred C. Fonder, Joseph E. Schaefer, and John R. Thompson. The Academy was originally founded as "The National Association for Somato Prosthetics and Rehabilitation" in Chicago by these three leaders. The Academy was officially incorporated in Cook County (Illinois) and received its charter on January 29, 1953. The corporation consisted of a general association of dentists engaged in a common field of rehabilitation whose purpose was for educational, research, and charitable reasons rather than for pecuniary ones.
The actual founding of the Academy was preceded by many organizational meetings during 1951 and 1952. The "founding group" of 25 dentists met in the "Windy City" and established a constitution, ratified by-laws with set standards, and requirements for active membership. Since then, the Constitution and By-laws have been revised as needed.
The "founding fathers" elected the Academy's first officers on February 24, 1953. They were: Dr. Aelred Fonder, President; Dr. R. E. Stenford, Vice President; Dr. Henry Carney, Secretary; and Dr. A. J. Ackerman, Treasurer. The name of the organization was officially changed to The American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics at its annual meeting in 1954.
From its inception in 1953 until 1959, the annual meetings were held in Chicago during the mid-winter meeting of the Chicago Dental Society and the meeting of the American Prosthetic Society in the Pick Congress Hotel. In 1959, it was decided to follow the American Dental Association's annual meeting location and time and in 1960, the first meeting of the Academy was held in conjunction with the ADA meeting in Los Angeles. After experiencing difficulties with the ADA Housing Bureau, the Board of Directors decided to coordinate the Annual Meeting with the American College of Prosthodontists which gave the advantage to our Fellows to attend both meetings. Our first meeting with the College was in October of 1973 in San Antonio, Texas.
The first banquet of the Academy was held at the Pick Congress Hotel on February 1, 1957. Since then, our annual President's banquet has been on the second day of our Scientific Program. The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry was approved as the official publication of the Academy in 1959. Since then, one of the Academy Fellows has represented the Academy on the Editorial Board as an Associate Editor. The Academy's seal or emblem was presented and approved in 1959. Certificates of membership bearing the seal have been issued to all members since then. In 1973, the "Membership" certificates were changed to "Fellowship" certificates.
Education and training of maxillofacial prosthodontics to dentists was a major concern. From 1958 to 1977, two-year teaching programs were offered. From 1977 to 1984, three-year programs were offered and these were accredited by the ADA Commission on Dental Education. On October 19, 1975, the first continuing education course of the Academy was held at the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The title of the course was "Management of the Maxillectomy Patient with Orbital Extension". The 22nd course is scheduled for November 5th (1997) in Orlando.
The Academy had firmly established for itself a leadership role in dentistry and its leaders have demonstrated the ability and the willingness to meet new challenges as they develop.