Urologic Oncology Fellowship in Department of Urology
University of Michigan
To me, the allure of academic medicine is the opportunity to do something interesting and different everyday. Forced to chose between operating, seeing patients in clinic, doing translational and clinical research, and working with students, residents, and fellows, I don’t know what I would pick. Fortunately, I don’t have to, and I really enjoy fitting all of these pieces together on a daily basis.
I am a urologic oncologist, finishing my residency at the University of Washington in 2009 and my fellowship at Vanderbilt University in 2011. After a year on faculty at Vanderbilt, I joined the Urology Department at the University of Michigan in the summer of 2012. Clinically, I treat all genitourinary cancers and perform open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgeries. In my mind, it is important to focus residency training on caring for patients and their disease, tailoring your approach to them rather than the other way around. This is one of the advantages of sub-specialization—as our knowledge about urologic diseases continues to expand and as technological innovation marches rapidly along, it is increasingly difficult to be all things to all patients.
From a research standpoint, my lab is primarily focused on the identification of tumor cells in the bone marrow of patients with early stage prostate cancer (termed disseminated tumor cells). It turns out that many patients with early stage cancer, including those who appear to be cured following prostatectomy, have prostate cancer cells that sick around in their bone marrow. My goal is to characterize these cells and understand what leads some of them to remain dormant and others to eventually proliferate, leading to cancer recurrence.
As an aside, I also have a strong interest in both resident and patient education. I co-developed (and continue to run) UrologyMatch.com and have also helped develop a mobile application directed at improving physician-patient communication (drawMD). Doing a lot of different things excites me, and there are ample opportunities for residents to do the same.