The American Autonomic Society began informally in 1990 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Important motive forces for the initial meeting were Dr. David Robertson and Ms. Dorothy Trainor-Kingsbury (Shy-Drager Support Group). The Society was formally established in 1992, and Dr. Robertson became its first president. The broad aim of the AAS is to provide a vehicle for investigators and clinicians interested in the autonomic nervous system to interact. It aims to promote research, education, and the academic practice in the autonomic disorders. The Society has escalated in its membership, successfully obtained tax-exempt status, adopted a formal charter, and has its own journal (Clinical Autonomic Research).
The Society has an American infrastructure but a strongly international character. Its membership is open to persons of all countries who share the same interests.
The AAS has held annual meetings every year since its inception and broadened the membership to become a truly international Society. Three times, the AAS joined its meeting with the European Federation of Autonomic Societies (EFAS) and celebrated a second combined meeting with the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience (ISAN) in Italy in 2015.
During the past quarter century, the AAS has expanded from less than 50 members in 1992 to over 150 members today, focusing on both clinical and basic science, and has taken on a new role in the education of physicians in autonomic disorders. The collegial atmosphere and ongoing collaborative efforts sparked several important discoveries that directly impacted the lives of people with autonomic disorders. Partnerships with support groups have expanded the reach of the AAS into the public eye, while partnerships with industry have culminated in approval of new therapies for people with autonomic disorders.