Q&A with new AUA president Paul Schellhammer, MD

August 1, 2007

As new AUA president, Paul Schellhammer, MD, has listed three primary priorities for the association in 2007-08: innovation (research), education, and application (health policy).

As new AUA president, Paul Schellhammer, MD, has listed three primary priorities for the association in 2007-08: innovation (research), education, and application (health policy). In this exclusive Urology Times interview, Dr. Schellhammer discusses actions that the AUA has taken in each of these areas, future plans of the association, and other challenges facing the AUA membership, including those related to the work force, ethics, and threats to the urology profession. Dr. Schellhammer is the program director of the Virginia Prostate Center, professor of urology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and a partner in Urology of Virginia, Norfolk. He was interviewed by UT Editorial Consultant Richard D. Williams, MD, professor and chairman of urology at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Q: What do you consider the primary challenges facing the AUA in 2007-08?

A: The three words that I'll use are innovation, education, and application.

What can we do about this? We've started by establishing a surgeon-scientist award that will give added financial support to an individual who obtains a K-award from the National Institutes of Health. This support is constructed to bridge the gap in financial income that inevitably occurs when research replaces clinical activity. However, we must have individuals who are applying for and receiving K-award grants, and we have been short in that area for numerous reasons. Our attempt to reawaken and reinvigorate young researchers will be based on developing a more effective research program with a new director who has the ability to educate and motivate residents and young faculty who have an interest in research, and even more important, an ability to interact with the government granting agencies. We must have our foot in the door, and our appeals and requests must be brought to these agencies on a regular basis. Our interaction is currently too disjointed and too irregular.