Setting an example: PSA recommendation compels collaboration


For the protection and promotion of urologic patients and practices, we must break down artificial barriers that impede progress.

This article is part of an ongoing series from the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU), based on a partnership between the AACU and Urology Times. Articles are designed to provide monthly updates on state and federal legislative issues affecting urologists. We welcome your comments and suggestions about topics for future articles. Contact Ross Weber, state affairs manager, or Joe Arite, government relations manager, at 847-517-1050 or

This column most recently highlighted the importance of collaboration among diverse organizations within the urologic community when it comes to advocacy.

The rationale and principles set forth in that piece were tested in a major way soon after its publication when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against PSA-based testing to screen for prostate cancer in men of all ages.

The American Association of Clinical Urologists was determined to not only engage its own members in a response to this recommendation, but also other organizations of urologists and patient groups. To that end, for the first time, the AACU was invited to participate on conference calls of the Prostate Cancer Roundtable, a forum for all members of the prostate cancer advocacy community. On these calls, the AACU shared its political intelligence and urged members of the roundtable to contact those policy makers who we knew were taking forward positions on this issue.

AACU President Arthur E. Tarantino, MD, also played an important role related to patient-group collaboration on the PSA screening issue. After initiating contact with Prostate Health Education Network Founder and President Thomas A. Farrington, Dr. Tarantino generously rearranged his schedule to participate in a meeting in Baltimore with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). The AACU’s representation at this meeting is certain to yield dividends for its members and members’ patients in the future.

Throughout the 4-week period between the publication of the USPSTF draft recommendation and the deadline to submit comments on that statement, the AACU remained in close contact with national, regional, and state organizations of urologists to share information and provide logistical support. The Large Urology Group Practice Association generously offered the AACU full use of valuable patient education materials. The AACU alerted state and subspecialty societies to resources deployed on the PSA Test Action Center and offered customized versions of fact sheets and a “Dear Referring Physician” letter, as well.

The AACU is also proud to have invited state and subspecialty societies, as well as sections of the AUA, to associate their organizations with the comments that the national organization prepared for submission to the USPSTF. More than 20 urology groups signed on to the AACU’s letter, with many physician leaders expressing great appreciation for the AACU’s engagement. Not only does this outreach advance the goals of the AACU Advocacy Affiliate program, but in a more general sense, it serves the entire urologic community.

The AACU has thus implemented the very advice published on these pages. For the protection and promotion of urologic patients and practices, we must break down artificial barriers that impede progress. Only when the full extent of urology’s reach is realized will legislative, regulatory and political victories be won.

To read the AACU’s letter to USPSTF Chair Virginia Moyer, MD, MPH, click here.

To learn more about legislative issues in your state, please visit AACU’s Action Center today at

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