Early History


In 1796 the Connecticut Land Company purchased three million acres in the Connecticut Western Reserve and arranged for settlers from New England to travel by boat from Buffalo into Ohio. The name Chagrin came about when the settlers found unexpected falls blocking their passage along the river. They stopped there and founded a town, giving it a name that indicated their feeling of the moment. Westel Willoughby was a 23-year-old physician, trained by the preceptor method, who built a successful practice in Chagrin. He eventually founded Willoughby University of Chagrin.

In 1834 the Ohio Legislature passed two bills, which eventually would bear on our lives. The first was a charter for the City of Columbus and the second a charter for Willoughby University of Lake Erie, located at Chagrin, Ohio. In 1834, there were no colleges of medicine west of Ohio and only a total of 27 in the country. In the Western Reserve at that time there was a Western Reserve College and Oberlin Collegiate Institute, besides several academies. In Ohio, there were the Medical College of Ohio at Cincinnati and the reformed Botanic Medical School of Worthington.

The medical department of Willoughby University was transferred to Columbus as Willoughby Medical College of Columbus in 1847. At that time, Columbus was a city of about 14,000. Willoughby Medical College of Columbus never finished its first session since the name was changed to Starling Medical College when Lyne Starling, gave $30,000 to build a hospital and medical school. He is not to be confused with Dr. Starling Loving (named for Lyne Starling) who came to Columbus in 1846, traveling from Cincinnati on the Mad River Railroad, the only railroad in the state.

"Eighteen hours after leaving Cincinnati, we got to Columbus at 3 a.m. I remember being congratulated by the urbane clerk at the hotel on having made a speedy trip."

In the early 1890's, another school, The Ohio Medical University, was founded in Columbus. Negotiations were completed for union of The Starling Medical College and The Ohio Medical College into the Starling-Ohio Medical College in 1907. Later, the Starling-Ohio Medical College merged with The Ohio State University.

As the legislation for the merger was prepared, all went well but the bill was unexpectedly amended: to the surprise of the faculty there were two medical colleges in The Ohio State University - a College of Homeopathic Medicine had been added. This latter college was discontinued in 1922.

Founders and Early Leaders

The Ohio State University Department of Otolaryngology was established under the direction of John Edwin Brown, MD, in 1914. Dr. Brown practiced both ophthalmology and otolaryngology and was Professor of Otology and Rhinolaryngology at the earlier Ohio Medical University and later at The Ohio State University College of Medicine where he was also head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology beginning in 1914.

Dr. Brown became president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology and lived 103 years. He was honored on the occasion of his 100th birthdate by Howard House, who presented him with a certificate describing him as the only true centurion among living otolaryngologists. It is interesting that Dr. Brown served as a physician to the Ohio Penitentiary since our residents now service that institution.

Hugh G. Beatty, MD, became head of the department in 1923. Dr. Beatty was an influential member of the Columbus medical community, a member of The American Laryngological Association, and was instrumental in founding The American Board of Plastic Surgery. He was particularly interested in head and neck surgery, bronchoesophagology and plastic surgery with special reference to the repair of cleft lip and palate.

Dr. Beatty retired in 1951 at age 70, but continued to practice for over 20 years. He was followed as chairman of the department by Russell G. Means, MD, who held the position only one year. Dr. Means was succeeded by Edward Harris, MD, who was chairman until his death in 1961.

William J. Miller, MD, joined the staff in 1941, Herbert Emswiler, MD, already being on the staff. Also joining the staff during the years of World War II was Daniel Sanor, MD, and shortly after came Drs. Richard Wehr, Trent Smith, John Lowery, William Krech, J.C. Deishley, Carl Roth, Jerry Arrington and Irene Jasys.

Among those who completed their residency in this department and went on to join the staff were Drs. John Arthur, Trent Smith, John Gersten and Herbert Birck. Other faculty members were Michael Paparella, MD, (1964-1967), Victor Vermeulen, MD, (1964-1972) and Daniel Lavignia, MD, (1973-1975).

For a number of years, otolaryngologists in neighboring cities such as Gallipolis, Newark, Marion, Springfield and Lancaster were appointed to the staff and more recently this practice has been re-established with the appointment of physicians in Zanesville.

William Saunders, MD, joined the faculty in 1954 as assistant professor and was the first full-time member of the department. He became chairman on the death of Dr. Harris and retired from the chairmanship in 1984, when he was succeeded by David Schuller, MD.

Timeline of establishment for the Department of Otolaryngology


The Ohio State University Department of Otolaryngology is established under the direction of John Edwin Brown, MD.


First bronchoscopy clinic west of the Alleghenies, opened by Hugh G. Beatty, MD. Ophthalmology splits from Otolaryngology to form its own specialty.

  Otolaryngology provides medical care for University Hospital, Children’s Hospital and St. Frances Hospital. An approved two-year combined residency in ENT was established.

A three-year separate residency program is approved. This residency has continued with the addition of a year of general surgery training and the addition of a fourth year of otolaryngology, for a total of five postgraduate years.

 1950s   In 1951 Russell G. Means, MD, becomes department chair. He is instrumental in helping Charles Doan, MD, get approval for the new University Hospital. In 1952 Edward W. Harris, MD, becomes department chair. In 1954 William Saunders, MD, joined the faculty as assistant professor and was the first full-time member of the department. 

The residency program gains Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education status. Professor John J. O’Neil of the Department of Speech begins training and instructing the residents in the science of audiology. Otolaryngology residents begin training in allergy. They are taught by Dr. French Hansel in St. Louis.
 1960s   William H. Saunders, MD, becomes department chair. As the first full-time staff member, he is credited with building the department to its modern-day structure. Dr. Saunders becomes the first physician to perform a septal dermoplasty surgery.

The Otologic Research Labs open – initiated by Michael S. Paparella, MD, and later taken over by David Lim, MD, in 1967.
 1970s   The Head and Neck Oncology program is established under the direction of David E. Schuller, MD.
  In 1984 David E. Schuller, MD, becomes department chair. He extends the residency program to five years.

Andrew Migletts, MD, becomes the first physician in central Ohio to perform a cochlear implant surgery in an adult patient. That same day, D. Bradley Welling, MD, PhD, and Howard Lowrey, MD, become the first physicians in central Ohio to place a cochlear implant in a pediatric patient.

The James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute opens under the direction of David E. Schuller, MD.

Beginning of the OSU Balance Disorders Clinic; only one of three in the U.S.
  Opening of Voice and Swallowing Disorders Clinic under the direction of L. Arick Forrest, MD, and Michael Trudeau, PhD. This is the first of its kind for the treatment of patients with voice disorders and continues to be one of the few centers of excellence in the U.S. for voice and swallowing disorders.

Project EAR makes its first mission trip to Los Alcarrizos, Dominican Republic.
  The department becomes an LLC. D. Bradley Welling, MD, PhD, becomes department chair.
  Opening of the Biomedical Research Tower, a 10-story, $160 million biomedical research and education facility dedicated to advancing basic science for the betterment of human health. Addition of a general otolaryngology practice. First mission trip to Managua, Nicaragua.
 2007   Addition of a facial plastic’s practice and the Speech and Hearing Science Research Department. Voice and Swallowing Disorders Clinic collaborates with the Department of Music and Department of Speech Pathology in a doctorate-level program. Becomes the first of its kind.
  Theodoros Teknos, MD, is named director of the Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery program. Addition of a sinus practice and the Head and Neck Research Group.
  Addition of an allergy practice. Karen Calhoun, MD, is the first allergy physician in central Ohio to offer sublingual immunotherapy as a treatment for allergies. In June 2009 the Eye and Ear Institute opens.
  Addition of a sleep surgery practice.
  The Joan Levi Bisesi Foundation for Head and Neck Cancer Research starts the Dental Partnership program under direction of Theodoros Teknos, MD – early detection of oral cancer.
  The department turns 100! The department ranks 15th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, the only one ranked in central Ohio


Mark Inman, MBA
COO and Administrator

Phone: 614-293-3470
Fax: 614-293-7292

Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery 
Eye and Ear Institute
915 Olentangy River Road
Suite 4000
Columbus, OH 43212

Schedule an appointment:  614-366-3687