Department of Urology

Message from the Chair

Dr. Hunter Wessells

Dr. Hunter Wessells, Department Chair and Professor of Urology

May, 2021

Dear UW Urology Community,

The cyclical nature of our work is in full evidence this spring in Seattle. We matched three outstanding medical students to join the residency program and become its next leaders; fellowship interviews are in full swing to bring innovation and talent into the Department; and preparations are underway to send off a distinguished group of graduating chief residents and fellows to promising futures.

My prediction on January 1 that we would by now be returning to in-person meetings clearly did not anticipate the slow pace of vaccination nor the emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2. The rest of the United States has not been given the same resources that UW Medicine has used to keep patients safe and allow healthcare workers to effectively deliver care during the pandemic. So even though many are now vaccinated, and excited to resume business as usual, we all should continue the fullest degree of safety at work and outside of work.

Our second year in “captivity” looks in some ways the same as the first, with limited opportunities to gather in large numbers or attend professional meetings. A very notable difference is how many things we will continue to do differently in the year ahead, from virtual interviews and CME meetings to remote clinical trials recruiting and biospecimen collection. Going forward, all of our Visiting Professorships and Grand Rounds lectures will continue to be available via Zoom to trainees and alumni everywhere. Please plan to join us virtually for our 13th Annual Hirschler Endowed Lecture and Research Day on Saturday, June 12th, 2021, featuring Manoj Monga, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology at UCSD.

Our educational programs have been substantially changed by the pandemic. Fourth year medical students will be allowed a single away rotation this year, making our sub-internships more meaningful than ever. To expand the availability of this 4-week immersion in UW Urology to more applicants, the Department will be sponsoring scholarships for five students from groups underrepresented in medicine. Coinciding with this offering, we will be matching for four ACGME approved residency positions this year: two 5-year clinical slots and two research slots, usually 6 years in length. One of the research trainees may be a recipient of the Urology Care Foundation Physician Scientist Residency Training Award. If you know of an MD or MD/PhD candidate with aptitude and interest in this prestigious 8-year opportunity, please encourage them to apply: https://www.auanet.org/research/research-funding/aua-funding/physician-scientist-residency-training-award

We have all been staying close to home, working long hours, and building up potential energy waiting to be released. Just as our economy is projected to expand significantly in Washington State, the Department of Urology will usher in the next academic year with a burst of activity and growth. Grant applications for the past 12 months were up 5%, and our clinical volumes are expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels significantly. An exciting integration will occur with the opening of a comprehensive outpatient urology facility at UWMC Northwest on July 7th, 2021. Situated in the McMurray Building, the new Urology Center will occupy 15,477 square feet for General and Subspecialty Urological Care including FPMRS, Urological Oncology and the Kidney Stone Center. The Urologists, Advance Practice Providers, Urogynecologists, Urology Residents and Fellows on this campus collectively will combine to substantially advance the clinical, teaching and research missions for the Department.

Sincerely,

Hunter Wessells, MD, FACS
Professor and Nelson Chair of Urology
University of Washington School of Medicine