History & Heritage
Since 1958, the faculty, staff, and students of the University of Florida’s Department of Urology have been providing world-class research and urological care. From its humble beginnings to an internationally recognized program, the Department of Urology has retained its pioneering spirit and fostered an environment of academic and research excellence. Through the years, we have followed in our predecessor’s steps and embraced their vision.
1958: First Patient Admitted to Shands Teaching Hospital
1958 marked the year when the Department of Urology’s tradition of excellence in patient care, research and education began. It was then Shands Teaching Hospital admitted its first patient, just two years after the state’s first medical school broke ground on the University of Florida campus. The combination of medical school and hospital was named for Senator Williams Shands, who had convinced the Florida Legislature to locate the school in Gainesville instead of Tampa or Jacksonville. Urologic care at UF has been thriving ever since.
1958: Dr. George H. Miller Becomes the First Chief of the Division of Urology
In 1958, Shands Hospital invited Dr. George H. Miller, to become the first chief of the Division of Urology. Like many early faculty members, Dr. Miller taught at the University of Chicago Medical School. During his 22 year tenure at the Division of Urology, Dr. Miller recruited a young and enthusiastic faculty, developed the division’s clinical and academic aspects, and helped establish the first urology research lab that would be the foundation of so many future successes for this pioneering group.
1962: Dr. David Drylie Joins Faculty
In 1962, Urology Chief Dr. George Miller, recruited Dr. David Drylie to be the second urology resident and faculty member in the division of Urology. The division’s second faculty member had one of the biggest impacts on its development. Already an excellent surgeon and researcher, Drylie pioneered the use of cryosurgery, a giant leap forward for doctors and their patients. From 1972 to 1994, Dr. Drylie would serve as division chief integrating private urologists into the teaching program, as well as developing academic and medical affiliations with the Veteran’s Administration Hospital.
1967: Dr. Birdwell Finlayson Joins Faculty
The Division of Urology’s future as a major research center took a giant step forward in 1967, when Urology Chief Dr. George Miller recruited Dr. Birdwell Finlayson as the division’s third faculty member. A world renowned scientist, Dr. Finlayson was one of the original investigators for Electric Shock Wave Lithotripsy, or ESWL in the United States. Through his remarkable work doctors were able to break up kidney stones from outside the body and reduce patient pain and avoid a hospital stay. A biophysicist in training, his fixed particle hypothesis became the foundation of urolithiasis research, and his computer model EQUIL is still the gold standard for calculating urinary supersaturation with respect to kidney stone formation.
1970: Partnership Established with the Malcom Randall VA Hospital in Gainesville, FL
Key to the division’s development was its early association with the Lake City VA Medical Center. It gave the division’s residents access to multiple urology cases and office practices. In 1970, the successful program gained an additional partnership with the new Malcom Randall VA Medical Center located in Gainesville.
1972: Developing Pediatric Urology
In 1967, Shands Hospital recruited its first pediatric surgeon, Dr. James Talbert from Johns Hopkins marking a commitment to children’s surgery. In 1972, Dr. Dixon Walker was chief urology resident and a member of the pediatric department. Dr. Walker would be the first pediatric urologist in Florida and only the second in the entire South. He is recognized as an international authority on the evaluation and treatment of urologic problems in children.
1979: Establishing Urologic Oncology at UF
In 1979 Dr. Harry Grabstald, an internationally known oncologist was recruited by the division to establish urologic oncology as a new subsection. It was Dr. Grabstaldt who increased the patient load by bringing in out-of-state patients. He was succeeded in 1983 by Dr. Zev Wajsman, who developed a program that made major inroads to management of urological cancer, garnering recognition for the department’s excellence in urological oncology patient care, research and education. In 1994, Dr. Perinchery Narayan was recruited from the University of San Francisco as the new Chief of Urology. Dr. Narayan, a renowned expert in the field of prostate cancer, continued to provide momentum to the Division’s emphasis on urologic oncology. Six years later, Dr. Chester Algood, an accomplished surgeon joined the faculty, furthering UF Urology’s commitment to best in patient care.
1993: A New Day in Urology
In 1993, the Division of Urology welcomed its first female resident, Dr. Dana Brand Moody. Dr. Moody was a pioneer in the Department of Urology.
1998: Establishing Urologic Endourology
In 1998, endourology evolved into a specialty, thanks to leaders like Dr. Birdwell Finlayson. Along with radiologists and his fellows, Dr. Finlayson developed tools to diagnose and treat kidney stones more effectively. He trained and was succeeded by Dr. Robert Newman. Dr. Newman was soon joined by Dr. Marc Cohen. Together, they expanded the endourology section to include diagnoses beyond stone disease, as well as bringing in the latest in laparoscopy technology. In partnership with the radiology department, the division performed the first laparoscopic donor nephrectomy in Florida.
2003-2006: The Culmination of a Vision
Becoming a department was the culmination of a vision. The effort had many champions throughout the division’s 50-year history, including Drs. Dixon Walker, Zev Wajsman and Perinchery Narayan. In 2003, Craig Tisher, the Dean of the College of Medicine, began to bring the dream to fruition and on July 1, 2005, urology became a department within the College of Medicine. After an extensive search, together with interim-chair, Dr. Robert Newman, Duke University’s internationally renowned clinician and scientist, Dr. Johannes Vieweg, was selected as the new inaugural department chair.
2006: Vision to Reality
In 2006, the new department vision demanded a foundation of incredible and dedicated talent. Upon Dr. Vieweg’s arrival, he was already joined by many accomplished physicians who have been serving the patient and academic community in their sub-specialties oncology, endourology, and general urology, including Drs. Marc Cohen, Chester Algood, Robert Newman, Ahmed Vafa, Zev Wajsman and Uniyme Nseyo.
The Department of Urology continued to build on the solid foundation of world-class experts that would provide a full-service offering including a robotics and minimally invasive division, a genitourinary oncology center, a male infertility center, a urology quality and outcomes program, endourology, general urology and translational research. Renowned urology clinicians, researchers, and educators were immediately attracted to the new department.
New research faculty members including Drs. Sergei Kusmartsev, Zhen Su and Brian Cleaver immediately began to make headway in terms of new collaboration with international institutions and state-awarded funding for their outstanding work in prostate cancer gene therapy research. Their research and innovations will translate next generation therapies to improved care for patients.
Dr. Phillip Dahm, a pioneer in the field of evidence-based medicine in urology and education, and Dr. Benjamin Canales, a leading scholar in kidney stone disease soon joined UF Urology to further boost our oncology, and endourology sub-specialty offerings. In 2007, Dr. Charles Rosser, was added to our expanding staff, bringing to the department his knowledge and expertise in urologic oncology.
This was followed by Dr. Sijo Parekattil, an expert in robotic surgery who performed the first robotics procedure at the newly established robotics division in 2007. Dr. Parekattil’s efforts were later augmented by the recruitment of Dr. Li-Ming Su, a nationally renowned robotics expert as Chief of the robotics and minimally invasive surgery division. Dr. Scott Gilbert, a pioneer in urological cancer survivorship, as well as an oncologist from the University of Michigan, joined the now growing and thriving department. The department had grown from six faculty members in 2006 to thirteen in 2008.
2008: 50 Years of Urology at the University of Florida
In 2008, the Department of Urology celebrated 50 years of urology at the University of Florida. Several events were held in Gainesville, including golf, tennis, tours of our facilities, a continuing medical education event and a welcome reception. To cap off the weekend, a black tie gala was held to honor our past and look towards our future.
The UroGators Alumni Society was established in 2008. The UroGators Alumni Society is a liaison between alumni, the department and a source of departmental support. UroGators fosters mutual communication and collaboration, providing a way for urologists in the community to stay in touch with the department. The group hosts regular social events and fundraisers for fellows, students and advocates of the department. UroGators is currently lead by Dr. Thomas Stringer, Interim Urology Department Chairman. Dr. Stringer is also the Past President of the Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association.
2009 -2014 : Continuing our Growth
The Department of Urology continued its growth by adding to faculty Dr. Loy Moy, who is fellowship trained in female urology. This important subspecialty added continued breadth to the department. Continuing to add to female urology, Dr. Michael Binder, a community physician joined the department. Dr. Yehia Daaka, Vice Chair of Research for UF Urology and Dr. Zhongzhen Nie, a well-known urologic researcher, expanded the department’s emphasis on research.
In 2009, UF President Bernie Machen approved the creation of the University of Florida Prostate Disease Center (UFPDC). Departmental faculty continued its growth with the addition of Thomas Crawford, COO of the UFPDC.
An expert in urinary stone disease, renal obstruction and renal cancer, Dr. Vincent Bird joined joined the faculty in 2010,. In 2011, the Department of Urology welcomed back as a faculty member, fellowship trained, reconstructive urologist, Dr. Larry Yeung. Dr. Yeung completed his residency with the UF Department of Urology.
Dr. Thomas Stringer, UroGators Alumni Society President, joined the faculty in 2011, as the Medical Director of the Urology Clinic.
In 2011, Dr. Kirsten Meldrum, the department’s second pediatric urologist,joined the facultyDr. Meldrum was instrumental in building the program we have today.
In the spring of 2011, Thomas Crawford proposed to the Florida Legistlaturethe creation of the University of Florida Prostate Disease Center (UFPDC). It passed unanimously in both the house and senate. Signed by Governor Rick Scott, this statute mandated the creation of a UFPDC Prostate Cancer Advisory Council to develop and implement an action plan to improve prostate cancer awareness, outreach, education and care.
In 2013, Dr. Vincent Bird accepted the position as Associate Program Director of the UF Urology Residency Program. In this role, he assisted the Residency Program Director, Dr. Philipp Dahm.
In 2013 Dr. Romano DeMarco joined the faculty as the new Pediatric Urologist. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Florida, Dr. DeMarco was the first Chief of Pediatric Urology at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. Dr. Paul Crispen also joined the faculty bringing his specialties of Urologic Oncology, Kidney Cancer, Bladder Cancer, Penile Cancer, Adrenalectomy, Renal Cell Carcinoma, Testicular Cancer and Robotic Surgery.
The David M. Drylie Visiting Professorshipbecame fully endowed in 2013. The department welcomed as its first Visiting Professor, Dr. Peter T. Scardino, Chairman of the Departments of Urology and Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The Visiting Professor Lecture was part of a series of department events, including the UF Urology Visiting Professor/UroGators Alumni Society Welcome Reception and the UF Urology/UroGators Alumni Society Tailgate. During the UF Urology Visiting Professor/UroGators Alumni Society Welcome Reception, the department honored Dr. Zev Wajsman as its first Golden Gator Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.
Dr. Victoria Bird was added to the faculty in 2014. Dr. Bird is based in the Urology Clinic, in addition to her on-going work in research. Dr. Lou Moy joined Dr. Vincent Bird as the as Associate Program Director of the UF Urology Residency Program, as Dr. Bird assumed the role of Residency Program Director.
The 2014 David M. Drylie Visiting Professorship, featured Dr. David A. Diamond, Urologist-In-Chief of Boston’s Children’s Hospital. Dr. R. Dixon Walker, III, received the Golden Gator Lifetime Achievement Award.
2015: The Future
In 2015, many changes took place in the Department of Urology. Dr. Thomas Stringer was named Interim Department Chairman, and a nationwide search for a permanent department chairman began. With Dr. Stringer’s leadership, along with the faculty, the department continued to honor its past and the legacy of those who served while continuing to move forward.
The UF Urology Endo/MIS Fellowship Program welcomed Dr. Brandon Otto.
Dr. Michael Dennis joined the faculty as the Co-Medical Director of the UF Health Urology Clinic.
The Visiting Professor in 2015 was Shlomo Raz, MD, from UCLA. On Nov. 6, following Dr. Raz’s lecture, an evening reception was held at UF’s Harn Museum of Art. About 120 former and current faculty, former and current residents and fellows, family and friends gathered to honor the memory of Dr. Dana Moody. Dr. Moody.
2016: Moving Forward
On Jan. 11, UF College of Medicine Dean, Michael Good, MD, announced to the UF Department of Urology Faculty that Interim Chairman, Thomas Stringer, MD, and his wife Leah Stringer had made a $350,000 gift to the department. The gift was a culmination of deep loyalty and commitment for a department that Dr. Stringer guided as chairman over the last year. However, Dr. Stringer’s love for the department stretches further back – from the time he was resident at UF Urology (1977-80). The endowed gift will go toward helping provide funds in perpetuity for all UroGators Alumni activities such as the annual Drylie, MD, Visiting Professor weekend each fall and the UroGator gatherings that take place at national and regional Urology events. “The opportunity to lead and guide the UF Department of Urology, to recognize and be part of its proud history and then to contribute to its glorious future is an unanticipated and humbling honor.”
On Feb. 2, University of Florida College of Medicine and UF Health leaders announced the appointment of Li-Ming Su, M.D., as Chair of the UF Department of Urology. Dr. Su, who was recruited to UF Health in 2008, is an internationally recognized leader in the area of minimally invasive urologic surgery. He currently serves as the David A. Cofrin Professor of Urology, Associate Chair of Clinical Affairs and Chief of the Division of Robotic and Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery. He will begin his appointment as chair of the department of urology on March 1. Dr. Su’s appointment comes after a national search that included 22 initial applicants.