The International Federation of Head & Neck Oncologic Societies

Dr Jatin P. Shah of New York conceived the establishment of an international body bringing together all specialists involved in the care of patients with Head and Neck Cancer. He presented this thought to the Executive Council of the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons (SHNS) at its retreat in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, in the summer of 1985. The proposal was enthusiastically received by the SHNS, and he was encouraged to proceed.

By August of 1986, leaders of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies worldwide were contacted to explore the feasibility of the establishment of an International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies with the purpose of “establishing channels of communication to enhance exchange of information and improving knowledge as well as exploring new directions in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with head and neck cancer”.

This proposal was eagerly welcomed by leaders in the field from various parts of the world, culminating in the formation of a steering committee which met on May 1, 1987, at the Grosvenor House in London. Representatives of sixteen Head and Neck Organizations from North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia were present. The steering committee drafted the constitution and bylaws of the Federation which was subsequently ratified by the Governing Council which consisted of one member from each member organization in the Federation. Dr Jatin Shah was elected Secretary General by unanimous vote of the Governing Council.