UF urology raises the bar for excellence

The Department of Urology at the College of Medicine recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a weekend of events that concluded with a black-tie gala held at Emerson Alumni Hall. Former faculty, residents, staff and patients gathered to celebrate past successes and hear about the department’s exciting future. Dr. Johannes Vieweg, the Wayne and Marti Huizenga eminent scholar chair in urology, shares his thoughts on the past and ideas for the next 50 years of UF Urology.

It is with immense pride that we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the UF Urology Department’s academic program. Prior to 2005, UF Urology was a division of General Surgery. The establishment of a Department of Urology was a key step by the College of Medicine to define and recognize urology as an independent field of medicine; it was, as well, a critical step toward accomplishing our goal of becoming a top 10 national program that provides the citizens of Florida with unsurpassed, state-of-the art urologic health care, research and education.

Recognizing that history serves as an inspiration for the future, UF Urology will continue to raise the bar and create new standards of excellence over the ensuing years. Despite our successes, however, we must also be mindful of the future challenges and hazards that reach beyond the national economic crisis and constraints of major budget cuts.

Urology today is undergoing a major transformation. New technologies and molecular therapies are emerging, and daily revelations that continue to fill in the map of the human genome are providing unprecedented opportunities to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of patients with urologic disease. In this rapidly changing environment of 21st-century health care, it is imperative not only to recognize the complexities of these new discoveries, but also to efficiently implement them into our daily practice. Only then will we remain competitive in an ever-changing marketplace and stay in the forefront of academic discovery and innovation.

Further challenging the field of urology are the increasing needs of an aging patient population; a population that expects and demands the safest and most effective therapies that avoid the side effects typically seen with contemporary care. Urologists today have at their disposal an increasing information stream derived from advanced imaging techniques, novel biomarkers, and genome-based risk assessment. But, mastering these new developments requires a new breed of urologic surgeon; one who rejects complacency and the status quo and, with an eye to the future, makes a commitment to the advancement of medicine through superb education, research and collaborative patient care.

Fortunately, what I have described is exactly what I see as the greatest potential of our incredible faculty here in the University of Florida Department of Urology. Their collective contributions over the past years have solidified our department’s national reputation as not only one the best programs in Florida, but also one of the top programs in the entire Southeastern United States.

As we commemorate the department’s history and past successes, we accept that we must not only look back, satisfied with a rich and eloquent past. History has not ended, and the mission of UF Urology is not yet complete. We must continue to challenge ourselves to think big thoughts, dream big dreams, and look forward with anticipation to the not-even-yet imagined achievements of the next 50 years of UF Urology.