Applications for the 2015 – 2016 Gallagher Health Policy Scholar Program will be accepted in fall 2014.
In 2007, the AUA Board of Directors approved the launch of this annual scholar program in honor of former executive director, G. James Gallagher. The Gallagher Health Policy Scholar Program hopes to attract those urologists who have demonstrated a commitment to or have a keen interest in the field of health policy and who are dedicated to advancing urology’s health policy agenda.
The past Gallagher Scholars, who are now among the current AUA health policy leaders, share their thoughts on the program.
Dr. Averch is professor of urology and director of Endourology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is also director of the UPMC Kidney Stone Center, whose members treat and manage kidney stone disease over the long term. Dr. Averch earned his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1989. Between 1989 and 1996, he completed surgical and urologic residencies at New York Medical College, and a fellowship in endourology at the Brady Urological Institute of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Before joining with UPMC in 2000, Dr. Averch was assistant professor of urology and director of Endourology at the Medical College of Virginia. His clinical interests include endourology, stone disease, and laparoscopic surgery. Additionally, Dr. Averch currently serves as Vice Chair of the AUA's Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Committee.
Dr. Rhee earned his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, and completed his residency at the Kaiser Permanente Foundation Hospitals, Los Angeles, California. He received both his Bachelor of Science in Biology and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Emory University. He received his MBA from The Anderson School of Management at UCLA in 2008 and matriculated from the 2009-2011 AUA Leadership Class.
He serves on the national AUA Health Policy Committee as an appointee from the 2011 AUA Leadership class and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Western Section of the AUA since 2005. Additionally, Dr. Rhee was appointed to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Clinical Urologists in 2012. Dr Rhee has been part of the California delegation for the Joint Advocacy Urology Conference since 2010 and served as group leader for the AUA Joint Advocacy Conference held in Washington, DC, in 2011.
Dr. Rhee is considered an international expert in the field of incontinence, urologic prosthetics and minimally invasive techniques for BPH, and is a frequent global presenter. He has been published in numerous journals and has also appeared in national and international media outlets for television, radio, newspapers and the Web for urologic innovations ranging from medical device inventions that have achieved international commercialization to the Shared Medical Appointments (SMA) concept that is now an integral part of a national urologic group. Recently, Dr. Rhee organized the first urology OR (operating room) community access day (San Diego Project Access) for uninsured San Diegans, in conjunction with the San Diego Medical Society, involving a wide range of urology provider volunteers.
Mark T. Edney, MD, graduated from St. Anselm College and Dartmouth Medical School, and completed his residency at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Since 1999, he has been a member of the U.S. Army Reserves and has served three active tours of duty including one at the 399th Combat Support Hospital in Mosual, Iraq, in 2006-2007. Dr. Edney became the medical director for the Peninsula Institute for Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery in Salisbury, MD, in 2008, and an adjunct faculty member of the physician assistant department at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2010.
Additionally, Dr. Edney has been active in organized urology, and has taken a strong role in both regional and national advocacy efforts. For the last three years, he has been the president of Maryland Urologists for Patient Access and Care (MUPAC). At the AUA, he currently serves on the Legislative Affairs Committee and as the Mid Atlantic Section representative to the Health Policy Council.
"The Gallagher Scholar year has given me broad access to study the intricacies of health policy and to visit the venues of policy in action like the CPT, RUC and MedPAC meetings. It has also provided me a platform to develop a program addressing a critical need in urology policy and advocacy which is the engagement of our newest colleagues. I have developed an introductory educational program that provides a broad overview of urology-specific health policy for residents. My goals are to increase general policy knowledge and interest and to inspire those who will become the next generation of urology policy leaders at the state, section, and national levels."
James C. Ulchaker, MD, graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College and Case Western University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He has subsequently been on the Cleveland Clinic's staff in the section of Urology Oncology/Prostate Center for 14 years. The majority of his research has been in the field of new technologies associated with benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer, as well as biodegradable urethral stents and bladder cancer tumor markers.
Additionally, Dr. Ulchaker has been active in organized urology. He has served as president of both the Cleveland Urological Society as well as chair of the AUA's Young Urologists Committee. He currently serves as one of the AUA North Central Section's Representatives to the AUA's Health Policy Council and as chair of the AUA Legislative Affairs Committee.
"While I wanted to use my term as the Gallagher Scholar to delve into advocacy further, I was impressed by how well-rounded and thorough the entire educational program was. I definitely expanded my scope not only in advocacy but in all of the other areas of health policy as well."
Dr. Gonzalez received his degree in medicine from the University of Iowa School of Medicine, completed his residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and earned his master's degree in business administration at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
In addition to his role as faculty member and practitioner at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, he served as Chief of Urology at the Veterans Administration hospital, Lakeside division, from 2003-2006. Dr. Gonzalez has also shepherded several community outreach programs, including a National Institutes of Health-funded pilot project involving prostate cancer screening and education among Hispanic men in Chicago and the development of the International Surgical Relief Mission among the Northwestern Department of Urology staff.
"I applied to the Gallagher program for the opportunity to gain education and insight about health policy, both at the national level in Washington, DC, and the local level in Chicago. I feel that the AUA is a proactive organization in the area of health policy, and I wanted to contribute my time and effort to learn about the critical issues facing urologists both today and in the future. With the knowledge gained from the program, I can then act effectively to protect our interests, as urologists, with the guidance of the many talented people within the AUA."
Dr. Saigal is an associate professor of urology at the UCLA School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree, completed his residency and a fellowship in oncology; he earned his masters degree in public health at the UCLA School of Public Health. In addition to his role as faculty member and practitioner at the UCLA Medical Center and the VA hospital, he also serves as a principal investigator with the RAND Corporation. He has authored more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals, with a special focus on prostate cancer and quality of life in patients with prostate cancer. Dr. Saigal, in partnership with Mark Litwin, MD, and under the auspices of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), led the creation of Urologic Diseases in America (UDA), the most comprehensive compendium describing the nature and scope of all major urologic diseases in America.
"Through the Gallagher program, I learned a lot about how health policy is made and how to work with the various stakeholders. The program certainly offered me an opportunity to participate in the efforts to improve quality of care and access to urological care-both of which are longstanding interests of mine."
Dr. Clemens is associate professor of urology and director of the Division of Neurourology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Michigan. Dr. Clemens graduated from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, completed his residency in urology at Northwestern University and a female urology fellowship at the University of Michigan. While at Northwestern, he also earned a master of science degree in clinical investigation.
As an active member of the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Committee (QIPS), he has represented the AUA on the Executive Committee of the American Medical Association Physician Consortium on Performance Improvement (AMA-PCPI), the premier organization for the creation of physician level performance measures. Dr. Clemens was recently appointed the Chair of the QIPS Committee, succeeding David F. Penson, MD in that role.
"The Gallagher program exposed me to aspects of health policy I wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise (such as the JAC, the leadership conference at Brandeis, the Coding and Reimbursement Committee). It deepened my portfolio. Equally important was my exposure to people within the AUA who have been involved in health policy for years. Many do not get much credit for their services. I attended meetings and talked to the AUA leaders about their experiences over the years. This was at least or perhaps more valuable than the formal training."
Dr. Penson is Professor of Urologic Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Director of the Center for Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research at the Vanderbilt Institute of Medicine and Public Health in Nashville, Tennessee. He was formally on the faculty at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA.
Dr. Penson received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in surgery and urology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), after which he was awarded both an American Foundation for Urologic Disease Health Policy Research Scholarship and a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Fellowship at Yale University. He received a Masters in Public Health at Yale as well.
A recipient of the AUA's Gold Cystoscope Award, Penson served three years as chair of the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Committee (QIPS) and currently serves as vice chair of the Health Policy Council.
"For me, the Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) meeting was one of the most educational and important experiences I had in my Gallagher training. I don't think most doctors understand what goes into deciding how our reimbursement levels are determined. You really need to know this information to plan for the future of both your practice and urology in general."