FROM THE AUA PUBLIC POLICY COUNCIL: 5th Annual Urology Advocacy Summit

By: Eugene Rhee, MD, MBA | Posted on: 01 Jan 2022

The Western Section AUA in Palm Springs, California in November reflected great hope and optimism. There is a palpable need for us to share our stories over the past 19 months of what I label, “The Grand Pause of the 21st Century.” Many ask, “What does it all mean?” The real question and challenge to us all is to answer the question, “What are you going to make it mean?”

Many of our legislatures and regulatory organizations in D.C. are fascinated with our struggles, and quite frankly it’s our opportunity to share the stories on behalf of our patients and practices in urology. It’s vital we expand, strengthen and unify the voice of urology on policy matters impacting our practices and our ability to engage in cutting-edge research and delivery of quality patient care.

This is why I’m quite pleased to share with you details for our 5th Annual Urology Advocacy Summit planned for March 14–16, 2022. This 3-day, AUA-led event to be held in Washington, D.C. will bring together a broad array of stakeholders, including community urologists, residents, researchers, patient groups, advanced practice providers and urology subspecialty organizations, to expand and strengthen our specialty’s breadth, depth and influence in D.C. Additionally, it will complement the advocacy efforts of the urology community by building upon our credible and longstanding work on Capitol Hill and with government agencies and state legislatures by bridging the relationships between the urology community and our specialty-specific advocates (fig. 1).

Figure 1. Welcome back to Capitol Hill! Pictured left to right: Norm Smith, MD, Representative Rodney Davis (D IL 07), Petar Bajic, MD, Larissa Bresler, MD.
Figure 2. Major Garrett, Chief White House Correspondent, CBS News, Correspondent at Large, National Journal

Open to all medical professionals, researchers and patient advocates, this AUA Summit will provide an opportunity for attendees to join thought leaders from more than 15 different organizations, within and outside the specialty of urology, to exchange ideas, synergize advocacy efforts and strategize on key legislative priorities. It will offer a variety of advocacy-related activities and opportunities, as well as expanded educational sessions to attend, including point–counterpoint debates and continuing medical education. Advocacy and networking opportunities will be available through congressional visits and meetings with key lawmakers, speaker luncheons, evening receptions and an AUAPAC-sponsored breakfast and featured speaker.

We’re also excited to announce that, new in 2022, the Urology Care Foundation’s Patient Advocacy Connections Program (PACP) will be part of the AUA Summit. This program has been moved from the AUA’s Annual Meeting, as it is important to bring patients and providers concerned with policy together in the place where policy is made: Washington, D.C. The 2-day program will be held on March 13 and 14, and include 2 roundtable discussions and a networking event. More than 20 patient advocacy groups are expected to attend. Our featured keynote speaker is Major Garrett, an American journalist who is chief Washington correspondent for CBS News (fig. 2). He is also the creator and host of The Takeout and The Debrief podcasts. Garrett has reported from the frontlines of the nation’s most pressing news stories for more than 30 years. He breaks down complex hot-button policy issues and is universally recognized as balanced, having worked for the White House teams of both CNN and Fox News.

“Many of our legislatures and regulatory organizations in D.C. are fascinated with our struggles, and quite frankly it’s our opportunity to share the stories on behalf of our patients and practices in urology.”

A focused effort to involve the younger members of our specialty is a high priority for the AUA Summit, which is why we will also feature discussions led by urology’s authorities in federal, state and third-party advocacy that will leave them feeling empowered and well-versed in advocating for policy matters impacting our practices, patients and the future of urology.

Finally, the success of this AUA Summit relies on the input and broad participation from the “Urology Community,” which is why as preparations for this event begin to ramp up we have been meeting virtually with a variety of groups to discuss the development of the program and how they can be involved.

My hope is that we see everyone in D.C., eager to catch up with colleagues, friends and acquaintances. It has been all too long.

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