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Department of Urology

Message from the Chair


Dr. Hunter Wessells

June 2017

The Department of Urology at the University of Washington offers a vibrant academic environment where we collectively Heal, Comfort, Teach and Wonder as part of our mission to improve health. Together in academic year 2016-2017 we achieved substantial growth in clinical care, research and education, while suffering a tragic loss of one of our own beloved faculty members, Dr. Richard Grady. We hope to involve many current and former colleagues, collaborators and patients in an upcoming celebration of his life.

Excellence attracts patients, and all of our clinical sites saw growth in visits and surgery this year. To our established centers of clinical and research excellence, the addition of the UW Medicine Kidney Stone Center and associated NIH Urinary Stone Disease Research Network Clinical Center represents a truly cross-departmental collective effort involving the UW, UW Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH) and Puget Sound VA.

For many years we have served children of all ages with congenital urological anomalies, first at SCH and later through practices at the Surgery Pavilion. Now we are expanding these services to take advantage of expertise and infrastructure at UWMC in the form of a transition urology clinic. Our cancer programs, in collaboration with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, have expanded the impact of multidisciplinary clinics in prostate, bladder and now renal cancer. New trials, extended indications for surgery, care pathways and basic science models all result from this paradigm. New faculty members at all of our hospitals provide a deeper bench to enhance all aspects of our mission.

The patients we see drive innovation, including expanded translational research programs in bladder cancer, pediatric cancer survivorship, the genetics of erectile dysfunction, patient centered medical information, novel anti-incontinence devices, and prostate cancer – to name a few. We continue to attract extensive research funding, in excess of $4M per year, which puts us in the top 10 urology departments for funding across the nation.

The annual meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) is the centerpiece of our academic prominence, and this year we reached a high water mark with the most abstracts ever accepted: 55 (33 posters and 21 podiums), along with 5 invited talks, 4 plenaries, 1 video, 3 instructional courses, 10 instructional courses, and several awards.

On June 3, we celebrated the completion of training for three Chief Residents and four Fellows and recognized our 2017 department award winners. Our pace of discovery, clinical enterprise, and educational activities will all be accelerating in the 2017-2018 academic year.

The talented and diverse group of residents and fellows that we all recruit and train serve as a unifying force for the department. They provide the “energy of activation” for our innovations, whether in the laboratories of mentors, as part of new clinical programs such as our Ambulatory Urology rotation, or in the far reaches of the region as participants in the new WWAMI rotation in Anchorage.

Our residency remains highly regarded, ranked #12 in Doximity and attracting a great new group of residents this, and every, year. Notably, we continue to enrich the department by recruiting the most talented and diverse cohort possible. Some of our innovations to achieve this goal include our new diversity sub-internship scholarship; introduction of two separate tracks for training (5 year clinical track vs. 6 year research track); and strong resident leadership in a variety of forums including the UW Housestaff Association, the UW Network of Underrepresented Residents and Fellows, the Student National Medical Association, and the AUA.

Fellowships represent a marker for the development and expansion of our clinical, educational and research programs. This year, we will have outstanding fellows joining the department in Pediatrics, Urological Oncology, Male Reconstruction and Trauma, Male Infertility and Andrology, and new this year, Endourology and Stone Disease. Each of these programs is integrated into strong research and clinical programs.

An urban city of over one million that is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live and work in the U.S., Seattle is a globally connected driver of the knowledge economy offering extraordinary cultural and recreational opportunities. A leader in global health research and implementation science, our region hosts partnerships between UW Medicine, the UW Department of Global Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other global health advocacy groups in the area working toward closing the “know-do gap” in healthcare delivery worldwide.

I invite you to contact me with any questions about the UW Department of Urology.


Hunter Wessells, MD, FACS
Professor and Nelson Chair of Urology