History of AOTA : Its Leaders and its Congresses

In the world of Thyroidology, there are 4 thyroid associations representing their respective regions: the American Thyroid Association (ATA, established in 1923), the European Thyroid Association (ETA, 1965), the Latin American Thyroid Society (LATS, 1974) and the Asia & Oceania Thyroid Association (AOTA, 1975). The youngest of these siblings, AOTA was established in 1975 in Boston at the time of the 7th International Thyroid Congress through the efforts of Ian Hales (Australia) Creswell J Eastman (Australia) and Shigenobu Nagataki (Japan). Ian Hales was its first president, assisted by 3 vice presidents, Gopal K Rastogi (India), Kazuo Shizume (Japan), Leland Villadolid (Philippines), with Creswell Eastman serving as Secretary/Treasurer. The other Founding Members of AOTA included (Jim Stockigt (Australia)& Radmil Hoschl (Australia). It held its 1st Congress in Singapore on January 28-31, 1978.

The association had fixed the term of office of its Office Bearers for 5 years. It also elected these officers and other members of the AOTA Council in the Delegates Assembly during the International Thyroid Congresses (ITC) which were held every 5 years. In the beginning, AOTA Congresses were scheduled every 4 years in sites to be selected by the AOTA Council Members. However, when the need arises, it could also hold scientific meetings in-between congresses.

From 1980 to 1985, the second president was Nabuo Ui (Japan) with Vinod Kumar (India), Thomas S Reeve (Australia) and Peter Yeo (Singapore) elected as vice presidents, and Shigenobu Nagataki (Japan) as secretary. Barely 5 years since its establishment, AOTA organized and hosted the 8th International Thyroid Congress in Sydney on February 3-8, 1980.

On August 19-22, 1982, AOTA’s 2nd Congress was held in Tokyo, Japan. Exactly two years after, on August 25-26, 1984, it held a mid-cycle meeting in Seoul, Korea.

The Thai capital of Bangkok was the site of AOTA’s 3rd Congress on December 4-6, 1986, under the presidency of Shigenobu Nagataki (Japan) and the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee Sunthorn Tandanhand. Steering AOTA through the next 15 years and together with Jan Stockigt (Australia), Sunthorn Tandhanand (Thailand), Leland Villadolid (Philippines) as vice presidents, & Junji Konishi (Japan) as secretary, Prof Nagataki presided over the 4th Congress in Seoul, Korea on April 19-21, 1989, and its sequel Symposium on IDD on April 24-25, 1989, in Tianjin, China. Thereafter, the 5th Congress was organised by Creswell Eastman in the Blue Mountains, nearby Sydney, Australia on May 2-5, 1993; and the 6th Congress in Osaka, Japan, on November 9-12, 1997.

It was Asia’s turn to host the International Thyroid Congress and AOTA, for the second time, hosted the 12th ITC held in Kyoto, Japan on October 22-27, 2000. It was during this ITC when AOTA’s presidency crossed the Korea Straits to the Asian mainland. From 2000-2005, Bo Youn Cho (Korea) held office as president with a new set of vice presidents: Creswell Eastman (Australia), Junji Konishi (Japan) and Rajata Rajatanavin (Thailand). Serving as secretary and concurrently treasurer was Young Kee Shong (Korea). This team presided over AOTA’s 7th Congress in Singapore on December 2-4, 2003.

In 2005, the AOTA presidency went back to Japan. President Junji Konishi spared no small effort to make the next congresses more and more successful. Assisted by vice presidents Duncan Topliss (Australia), Chen Zu Pei (China), and Kwang Woo Lee (Korea), with Yoshiharu Murata as secretary, they organized a well-attended 8th Congress in Manila, Philippines on February 4-6, 2007. This Congress was heightened by the participation of 3 medical societies in the Philippines and by the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) which held its annual Board meeting in conjunction with the AOTA Congress.

Following the AOTA Council’s decision to hold more frequent congresses within the region, the 9th Congress was held two years later in Nagoya, Japan on November 2-4, 2009, this time in conjunction with the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Japan Thyroid Association that further bolstered attendance. In Nagoya, it was affirmed that the next congress will be held in Bali, Indonesia in 2012 or two years after the 2010 International Thyroid Congress (ITC) in Paris.

The 14th ITC on September 10-16, 2010 saw the election of new Office Bearers for 2010-2015. Japan’s Yoshiharu Murata was elected AOTA’s 6th president. Elected vice presidents were Duncan Topliss (Australia), Johan Masjhur (Indonesia) and Wei Ping Teng (China), and Teofilo San Luis Jr (Manila, Philippines) as secretary-treasurer. New and young faces were also elected into the Council, as well as from new countries to widen AOTA’s reach into the Region. It was also decided during the Paris assembly to create a new category of membership in the Council. The posts of Emeritus Council Member were established to honor past AOTA Presidents and/or Council Members who had organized and steered previous Congresses. They would provide AOTA with the wealth of information on organizational development and serve as links with other regional associations.

From October 24-27, 2012 the exotic island of Bali, Indonesia, served as venue for the 10th Congress that featured several pre-Congress workshops and lay forum. Thereafter, on September 25-28, 2014, it was India’s turn to host the 11th Congress. It was in Kochi, India, that the selections of the next Host Cities for the 12th AOTA Congress and the 16th ITC were decided. Busan, Korea was designated host for the 2017 Congress while Xi’an, China, won the bid for the 2020 ITC. It was also during this Congress where amendments to the AOTA Council Members’ election, a restructuring of the Executive Committee, and revenue-sharing between the host Organizing Committee and AOTA were approved to further streamline operations. AOTA Council Observerships were also opened to representations (but no voting rights) from countries still in the process of establishing national thyroid associations.

The new governing Council of AOTA for 2015 to 2020 term of office has been constituted following the election of the Flag Bearers (Officers) during the AOTA Council Meeting held on October 19, 2020, at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Elected President was Takashi Akamizu (Japan) with Teofilo San Luis Jr (Philippines) and Wei Ping Teng (China) as Vice Presidents, Won Bae Kim (Korea) as Secretary, and Masanobu Yamada (Japan) as Treasurer and concurrent member of the Program Organizing Committee (POC). The POC will be headed by Liu Chao (China) with Minho Shong (Korea) as another member.

Rejoining the new AOTA Council are Duncan Topliss (Australia), Fereidoun Azizi (Iran) and RV Jayakumar (India). Coming in for the first time are Iwao Sugitani (Japan), Sun Wook Kim (Korea), Tjin-Shing Jap (Taiwan), Faridul Alam (Bangladesh) and Tjokorda Pemayun (Indonesia).

The Council will constitute a Task Force to go over AOTA’s Articles of Association (AoA) and propose amendments to guide AOTA in meeting the various challenges of the organization, notably in the area of membership and representation in the Council. The last amendments to the AoA were introduced by the Council in November 2009.


A lecture from the 15th International Thyroid Congress, 2015, USA : History of AOTA (From 1975 – 2015) 2015-10-20-nagataki-final-history-of-aota

A Lecture from the 7th Congress of AOTA, 2003, Singapole : The History of AOTA  (1978-2003) archive_7thAOTALecture