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Cedars-Sinai Urology: building a residency program

Teaching residents and building a top urological residency program are among the priorities of Cedars-Sinai's Academic Urology Practice, which is composed of members of the Medical Network's urology group and the four subspecialty-trained urologists of the former Minimally Invasive Urology Program.

The practice also provides referral-based urology subspecialty care over the entire range of urological disease management in addition to serving as urological liaison for the patients and physicians in the Medical Network.

Andrew L. Freedman, MD, and Barry Duel, MD, specialize in pediatric urology; Jennifer Anger, MD, MPH, and Karyn S. Eilber, MD, provide subspecialty care in female urology, pelvic floor surgery and reconstructive surgery; Howard Kim, MD, subspecializes in erectile dysfunction and infertility; Gerhard J. Fuchs, MD, and Hyung L. Kim, MD, provide subspecialty care in endourology stone disease and laparoscopic surgery (Kim also subspecializes in urologic oncology and robotic surgery); and Phillip Yalowitz, MD, provides care in general urology and endourology.

As urology teaching faculty, the urologists of the Academic Urology Practice are joined by three members of the Division of Urology: Leon Bender, MD, who provides care in and teaches the residents general urology and endourology; Soroush A. Ramin, MD, who specializes in urologic oncology and robotic surgery; and Mark W. Vogel, MD, who teaches general urology and family medicine.

At this time, when the first residents have taken on their formal urology training as PGY-2s, the program has just finished interviewing 30 applicants for the 2012-13 academic year – again attracting outstanding candidates. Of 200 applicants, 30 were invited for a visit to the Cedars-Sinai campus and interviewed by the teaching faculty members, endourology fellows and the residents.

Ranking the candidates will again be rather difficult as they all excel in academic achievement (USMLE scores 240-274, average 254; 66 percent AOA honors distinction), multiple finished research projects, community service involvement, and letters of recommendation attesting to outstanding performance as students, aspiring researchers and superb performers in clinical rotations.

In the structure of a four-year urology program, the Cedars-Sinai residency offers residents an unusual clinical experience as a single-location program with very strong and varied research opportunities. Hyung L. Kim, MD, as the scientist-surgeon, is the anchor for facilitating the basic research interests of the residents in his laboratory and in the laboratories of the urology research group of Leland Chung, MD, Neil Bhowmick, MD, Michael Freeman, MD, and Beatrice Knudsen, MD.

In addition, ample research opportunities exist with the medical oncology, radiation oncology and pathology members at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. Clinical outcomes research is coordinated by Jennifer Anger, MD, MPH, and all faculty members are engaged in health services research projects with the residents.

Averaging 65 to 70 duty hours each week, the PGY-2 residents learn surgical skills by participating in an average of 40 surgical procedures per week. They spend time in didactic and simulation education as well as outpatient clinic. They also have started being exposed to the Emergency Department and consultation service as first responders.

Together, the two PGY-2 residents are already involved in 10 clinical research projects and have several papers in print or peer review.

Although the start of a new academic educational program is an ambitious and logistically challenging endeavor, the quality of both faculty and learners – in addition to their enthusiasm, dedication and commitment – has created a vibrant learning environment.

This effort is complemented and has been made possible by the unwavering commitment and support from the Department of Surgery and the Medical Dean's Office, which has nursed this program to a running start and to become a valuable urological resource to the Cedars-Sinai enterprise and the community at large.

Submitted by the Academic Urology Practice in the Department of Surgery.