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    AUA president: In uncertain times, urologists must unify

    J. Brantley Thrasher, MDJ. Brantley Thrasher, MDNewly elected AUA President J. Brantley Thrasher, MD, says urologic subspecialty societies need to come together as one voice for urology to remain strong. In this interview, he also discusses the AUA’s expanded efforts in advocacy, research, and education. Dr. Thrasher is professor of urology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City. Dr. Thrasher was interviewed by Urology Times Editorial Council member Jeffrey E. Kaufman, MD, a urologist in private practice in Santa Ana, CA. 

     

    It’s been a number of years since you served on the AUA Board of Directors. What do you find has changed in terms of themes and challenges since then?

    Research is one thing that has changed significantly. The AUA now has approximately $50 million dedicated to research, which includes about 750 endowments and scholarships. That’s one big area of change. The AUA Quality Registry, or AQUA Registry, also was not in place when you and I were on the Board. As a certified data registry now recognized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, it will ultimately help our membership move forward with some of CMS’s new quality initiatives, and it may even help with maintenance of certification (MOC) in the future. There are approximately 480 practices participating in the AQUA Registry right now.

    Also see: First national urology-wide registry gathers steam

    Advocacy is also expanding, and that includes the new Urology Advocacy Summit that will occur in Washington in March of 2018. There are already 12 subspecialty societies that would like to partner with us for that summit. We’d really like to see a big turnout. Additionally, our international outreach and international programs have changed tremendously. When I first started on the Board, Dr. Bob Flanigan started a lot of that outreach, and the person in charge now is Dr. Inderbir Gill. Dr. Gill has done a fantastic job, and he’s focusing more now in the Middle East. We now have about 50 programs in 109 countries.

    I think the AUA Office of Education has changed with the times by moving more toward a digital format. AUA University now includes 6,000 abstracts, 400 live surgeries, and many presentations. There’s a lot at members’ fingertips now, and I think Dr. Victor Nitti has done a great job heading up the Office of Education.

    Next: "A lot of networking opportunities and subspecialty meetings occur at the [AUA] annual meeting that you can’t get any other time."

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