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HUMC Department of Urology achievements demonstrate commitment to leading the way in urological care

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Press Release

From urologic oncology and pediatric oncology to single port robotic surgery, the Department of Urology team is celebrating several achievements.

Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center’s Department of Urology team — New Jersey’s only Urology Department to earn national ranking by U.S. News & World Report — is celebrating several achievements in the first six months of 2023. From urologic oncology and pediatric oncology to single port robotic surgery, the Department of Urology team is leading the way in urological care across the U.S. and abroad. 

‘Thought Leader of the Future’ Invitation

Nitin Yerram, MD, Co-Director of Urologic Oncology at John Theurer Cancer Center and Director of Urologic Research, received a prestigious, highly competitive invitation to participate in the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s “Thought Leaders of the Future” Academy, which will convene for three days in Los Angeles in August 2023.

The academy is designed to provide a select group of recent fellowship graduates in medical oncology, radiation oncology and urology with opportunities for genitourinary cancer research. The goal of the Academy is to drive career development through one-on-one and group sessions focused on advice, professional connections and mentorship from participants in the “Thought Leaders of the Present” program.

“Dr. Yerram was among a group of only 30 up-and-coming physicians in the U.S. who were chosen for this sought-after opportunity,” said urologist Richard Watson, MD. “Dr. Yerram joined our team in 2021, and we are so excited to see him receive this recognition as a testament to his contributions to our patients and the field of urologic oncology.”

“Ongoing research is a critical component in the future of genitourinary cancer care, and our team at Hackensack University Medical Center is proud to offer some of the nation’s most promising clinical trials,” said Dr. Yerram. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to join with colleagues from across the nation to learn from some of the country’s foremost experts — with the goal of finding new ways to advance genitourinary cancer research.”

Sharing Single Port Robotic Surgery Expertise — at Home and Abroad

Michael D. Stifelman, MD, Chair of Urology and Director of Robotic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, and Professor and Founding Chair of Urology at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, has received invitations to participate in Visiting Professor programs at several prestigious institutions — including Baylor School of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr. Stifelman lectures on “Single-Port Robotic Surgical Techniques -Lessons Learned after 1,000 Cases.” He was also the keynote speaker at the Michigan University Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MUSIC) Conference in Michigan.

In June 2023, Dr. Georg Schoen, Chief Physician of Robotic Urosurgery at the Urological Clinic at Munich Planegg in Germany, visited the urology team at Hackensack University Medical Center to learn about single-port kidney and prostate surgery. Dr. Schoen observed surgeries and technique demonstrations performed by Dr. Stifelman and Mutahar Ahmed, MD, Director of the Center for Bladder Cancer, Hackensack University Medical Center, Associate Professor of Urology, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, and Director, Robotic Fellowship Program, New Jersey Urology.

Dr. Ahmed also traveled to Seoul, Korea, where he received an invitation to demonstrate single port robotic surgery techniques to robotic urologic surgeons.

“As international leaders in single port urologic surgery, we’ve taken minimally invasive urological procedures and made them even more minimally invasive — and we are committed to enhancing patient care by sharing our knowledge with our colleagues throughout the U.S. and around the world,” said Dr. Ahmed.

Medical Missions Expand Urology Care Across the Globe

Throughout his career, Richard Schlussel, MD, Director of Pediatric Urology at Hackensack Meridian Health Network, has used his expertise to give back, participating in 10 mission trips to Africa, the Dominican Republic, Armenia, China and Ecuador. His mission: To provide medically underserved children with complex urological care while educating local surgeons on the latest techniques to improve patient care on an international level.

In September 2022, Dr. Schlussel served as the leader of a 30-person team that traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador, for a week to provide life-changing surgical care for approximately 40 children with complex congenital pediatric urology conditions. His 2022 trip marked his fourth humanitarian trip to Ecuador.

Dr. Schlussel and his colleagues are members of the New Jersey Chapter of Healing the Children, a national humanitarian organization that provides medical care to underserved children around the world. On Sunday, October 29, 2023, the New Jersey Chapter of Healing the Children will host a benefit gala honoring Dr. Schlussel for his humanitarian work. 

“The work we do overseas is extremely rewarding and very much appreciated by those who receive our care,” said Dr. Schlussel. “I am honored to represent New Jersey and Hackensack University Medical Center and am proud to partner with a team of medical experts who are committed to advancing urological care close to home, as well as throughout the world.”

“Whether inside our hospital’s walls or across the globe, our team is at the forefront — continually pushing the envelope to deliver outstanding urological care,” said Dr. Stifelman. “We use the latest, most innovative technology here at home to promote outcomes that exceed national standards of excellence — and by working closely with our national and international colleagues, we can expand access to leading-edge urological care to even more patients.”

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