AUA president: Two-tiered training idea needs to disappear

August 1, 2006

AUA president Lawrence S. Ross, MD, discusses current issues related to training, as well as the urology work force and maintenance of certification.

The future of urology residency training has become a topic of intense interest among organized urology, practicing urologists, and residents. AUA and other organizations involved in residency training have begun a dialogue to discuss how training might evolve and improve to meet changing urologist and patient needs. In this exclusive Urology Times interview, AUA President Lawrence S. Ross, MD, discusses current issues related to training, as well as the urology work force and maintenance of certification. Dr. Ross, whose term as president began in May, is professor and head of the department of urology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He was interviewed by UT Editorial Consultant Richard D. Williams, MD, professor and chairman of urology at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Q. How would you characterize the current state of the American Urological Association?

Q. Please talk more about the AUA Foundation. What are its goals for the near future?

A. Our primary goal for the AUA Foundation initially was to support our research fellows and research support programs, and we have been at least modestly successful, given the financial state of the foundation. The real issue for the foundation is to solidify its reorganization and to begin the fund-raising efforts that we need to support its programs. We're in the process of organizing a lay board of the foundation that will be primarily involved with development and raising dollars. John Huber, the AUA Foundation's executive director, is working on those programs.

Q. What other current projects or issues are of importance to the AUA?

In April, we convened a task force on urology residency training. AUA acted as a facilitator in the process by bringing together the parties who need to discuss this, including representatives of the Residency Review Committee, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the American Board of Urology, the Society of University Urologists, and-very importantly-the private practice community. This group convened at AUA headquarters and had a very interesting and a very productive weekend meeting.

Q. What was the outcome of the residency training task force meeting?

A. The meeting, which was facilitated by Dr. John McConnell, started with some feeling there would be contentiousness about the issue of training. By the end of the weekend, I think there was a very strong consensus about what the issues are and how we need to move forward to solve them. During my travels to the sections as the AUA's president-elect, one of the burning questions that I encountered both from members and from residents was, what's happening with urology training and what is all the talk about "two-tier training."