Department of Urology

Message from the Chair

January, 2022

Dr. Claire Yang

Dr. Claire Yang, Professor of Urology and Interim Department Chair

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

What a beginning to the new year! The close of 2021 brought snow and cold temperatures, disrupting holiday travel plans and exacerbating staff shortages in the hospitals. Both figuratively and literally, we greeted 2022 digging out of a snowdrift. And as we start back to work following the holidays, we face a new challenge from the omicron variant. It would be tempting to think, Not again. I know I have.

Fortunately, we are in a much better place now than in January of last year: we have vaccinations and boosters; processes in place to help us pivot in response to rapidly-changing circumstances; and more information, which has helped to mitigate fears of the unknown. Perhaps most importantly, we know we can rely on each other in these demanding times.

The Department of Urology will continue to pursue its clinical, teaching and research missions, to “heal, comfort, teach, and wonder.” And we have much to be proud of. Grateful patients recently recognized the excellent work of several faculty members with generous gifts to the department. We completed a second virtual residency interview season, with the usual complement of outstanding applicants, and will be submitting the rank list shortly. The world of medicine and health care delivery requires that we constantly innovate and “wonder” about how we can, together, create a better future. Our department clinicians, researchers and trainees are committed to realizing this future with their robust research efforts. With all our work, we will maintain a sharp focus on improving equity, diversity and inclusion for every member of the community.

There are several faculty transitions to acknowledge: Alvin Liu, PhD, Research Associate Professor of Urology, retired after over 25 years at the University of Washington. Much of his work focused on biological markers of prostate cancer. Amanda Heep, ARNP is joining the urology team this month at UWMC-Northwest and will be working in the Pelvic Health Center and the Kidney Stone Center. Department Chair Hunter Wessells, MD is taking a 6-month research sabbatical, and I will be Interim Chair during that period. I’m honored to be in this position, and look forward to working with you in the coming months.

With warmest wishes for 2022,

Claire Yang, MD, FACS
Professor and Interim Chair
Department of Urology
University of Washington School of Medicine