SPOTLIGHT on Europe, Middle East, Africa Uncertainty and Opportunity in 2020

By: Sam S. Chang, MD, MBA | Posted on: 01 Mar 2021

As for everyone, 2020 affected specific programs and planned gatherings for countries and regional societies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. But I am happy to report that the AUA’s international relationships have remained and perhaps even strengthened during these times, underscored by the more than 1,000 new International and International Resident members who joined the AUA last year. As the Assistant Secretary, I work with the AUA International Programs team to identify new opportunities and collaborations with various national and multinational urological societies, and work to enhance relationships with partners throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

International Education Programs

We were able to continue to have virtual forms of our various AUA educational programs, including Lessons in Urology (resident review courses) and Fundamentals in Urology courses (basic sciences), licensed Best of AUA programs, post-graduate courses, and joint symposia with dozens of our international society partners. Our successful Summer School program in Italy continued successfully via a virtual format with live interaction between prominent AUA faculty and selected residents from all of Italy’s programs. While this year forced an unfortunate abandonment of in-person programming, the AUA saw extraordinary participation and engagement in its online programming, both domestically and internationally. Its 2-day AUA LIVE event welcomed more than 300 attendees from Europe, the Middle East and African countries, and AUAUniversity, the AUA’s online education platform, saw overall user visits increase by 71% in 2020. Visits from European, Middle Eastern and African countries more than doubled! Despite the challenges that limited us this year, these numbers speak to the global community’s continued commitment to education and the patients they serve.

Academic Exchange Programs

I’m pleased to share that we have established a new visiting scholar program with France (Association Française d’Urologie [AFU]) for 2021 and we are in our fourth year of a program with Germany (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Urologie [DGU]). Our Academic Exchange Programs allow young academic urologists to benefit from the sharing of knowledge and experiences with colleagues around the world. The programs include a 2- to 4-week educational experience at an academic center, and attendance at an international urology meeting. During the exchange, the participants observe urological surgeries/procedures, attend clinics, present lectures and take part in staff activities. These programs foster a closer alliance between the AUA and our international partners, and assist in identifying future leaders within the global urological community.

Innovation and Involvement

We have emphasized to the international community the continued enhancements of AUAUniversity, including online education in multiple languages and other membership benefits for use by the global urological community. In addition, we are utilizing the data we have gathered from educational needs assessments and sharing with our international partners key findings specific to their region and country. Our Office of Education and International Programs teams are continually evolving with the rapidly changing landscape to meet our international learners where they are. Importantly, under Secretary Denstedt’s leadership we have worked closely with our international partners to identify and recommend qualified international members to serve on various AUA committees and to participate in the AUA annual meeting as speakers, moderators, and abstract reviewers.

The challenges of 2020 have proven that no matter the circumstances, AUA will listen closely to the needs of our international partners and will continue to provide membership and educational value for the global community.

AUA looks forward to continuing to serve as your partner and go-to resource for urological education, programs and more as we navigate 2021 and beyond. If you have not yet renewed your 2021 AUA membership, visit to ensure uninterrupted access and another year of the most valuable benefits package in urology.

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