This June, two time-honored annual visiting professorships were brought together for the first time during an enlightening two days of events leading up to the annual urology resident and fellow graduation ceremonies. Gerald Andriole Jr., MD, and Mohammad Allaf, MD, delivered lectures and participated in a number of invaluable discussions among Washington University Urology faculty, trainees and staff.
The John R. Caulk Visiting Professorship was a homecoming for Andriole, who previously served as Chief of Urology at Washington University from 1999 to January 2022. He was recently succeeded by current chief and Holekamp Family Endowed Chair in Urology Sam Bhayani, MD, MS. Andriole now serves as Director of Urology in the National Capital Region at the Brady Urologic Institute at Johns Hopkins University. His history with the Department of Surgery began in 1985, when Andriole was appointed as an assistant professor of surgery and Chief of Urology at the St. Louis VA Medical Center. Throughout his career with Washington University, he shined as a phenomenal researcher, excellent practitioner and exceptional leader and made an immense impact on countless patients, students and fellow faculty members. During his time in the Department, Andriole pioneered an image-guided prostate biopsy approach using MRI and micro-ultrasound techniques. His contributions to the field of urology are immense, including notable research and development in prostate cancer screening and treatment.
Allaf, the 2022 Justin J. Cordonnier Visiting Professor, serves as a professor of urology and oncology, Executive Vice Chairman of the Department of Urology and MEA Endowed Director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Urology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Allaf is a leading innovator and one of the most in-demand robotic radical prostatectomy surgeons in the world. Allaf developed anatomic and nerve-sparing methods for performing radical prostatectomies based on his training with renowned urologic surgeon Patrick Walsh, MD. Allaf is additionally a leading kidney cancer surgeon and is actively involved in research efforts and fundraising aiming to decrease the morbidity associated with the treatment of cancer. His contributions to education, research and countless surgical innovations continue to open new doors in robotic surgery and cancer treatment.
The Caulk-Cordonnier event kicked off on Thursday, June 23 with a robotic prostatectomy case presentation by Bhayani and Washington University Urology resident Nicholas Pickersgill, MD. Allaf moderated while Andriole and Washington University urologic surgeons R. Sherburne Figenshau, MD, and Charles Nottingham, MD, and other faculty and trainees had a chance to weigh in and ask questions.
Allaf and Bhayani’s history of working together extends back to 2002, when they met during Bhayani’s fellowship at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Those in attendance to the event witnessed a rare glimpse of both Bhayani’s expertise in the operating room and Allaf’s extensive experience and knowledge of this complex procedure.
Andriole then presented the first visiting professorship lecture of the series, entitled “PSA Screening in 2022 – What Do We Need to Know?” He presented current data and potential strategies for improving protein-specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer. Andriole noted that this subject felt like his “unfinished business” since leaving Washington University, and encouraged current trainees to further explore this and other methods to support the prevention and early detection of prostate cancer. Andriole reiterated the vital importance of improving testing efforts and stated that if he was a urologist starting his career today, “this is what I would focus on.” More effective testing can reduce financial stress on patients and save lives by catching curable cases of prostate cancer early on, and Andriole emphasized that it is time to refocus efforts toward improving testing practices.
At the closing of the first day, the Division of Urology unveiled Andriole’s official portrait in honor of his contributions to the Washington University community and the field of urology. Timothy Eberlein, MD, the immediate former chair of the Department of Surgery, described Andriole not only as a phenomenal surgeon, but as a great friend and colleague to so many at the School of Medicine and beyond.
“It is an incredible honor, Jerry, for us to celebrate your tenure as a leader in our department, a leader in our medical school and a leader in our community.” Eberlein said. “Thank you so much for all that you have done, and especially for your friendship.”
Bhaynai spoke with both humor and sincerity as he reflected on Andriole’s career and impact: “Dr. Andriole has opened up a lot of doors for us as an institution, as a field of urology and for me personally.”
Before the unveiling, Bhayani presented Andriole with the name plate that once hung outside his office at the School of Medicine, now surrounded by signatures of Washington University faculty and Andriole’s former coworkers and colleagues. Andriole’s family and former colleagues gathered around him as the portrait, a work by Jie Ruan, was unveiled, picturing Andriole in front of his former office and his favorite local golf course. The painting will immortalize Andriole alongside other esteemed leaders throughout Washington University history.
The Caulk-Cordonnier lectures continued on Friday morning when Allaf took to the podium. Allaf’s lectures, entitled “Optimizing Potency and Continence During Radical Prostatectomy” and “Novel Imaging in Urologic Oncology: Towards a Radiographic Biopsy – Sestamibi Imaging for Renal Cell Cancer,” focused on nerve-sparing techniques in robotic-assisted prostatectomies and new developments in cancer screening. In his first lecture, Allaf delved into the history of radical prostatectomy and the impact that nerve-sparing techniques have made on patient outcomes. He then explained his approach to reduce postoperative risks and side effects and provided examples of cases and techniques he uses in his practice. His final lecture addressed the potential of multiple molecular imaging in the detection of renal tumors. Allaf explained how this technology, in addition to saving lives through early detection, could unite several medical and research disciplines and usher in a new era for cancer detection and treatment.
In 1910, Professor of Clinical Genitourinary Surgery John R. Caulk, MD, established the training program for urologic surgeons at Washington University. Caulk was a renowned surgeon and a key pioneer in the development of transurethral prostatic resection. The John R. Caulk, MD, Visiting Professorship, established in 2017, honors his legacy of clinical and educational excellence and innovation.
The Justin J. Cordonnier, MD, Visiting Professorship honors the first full-time head of the Division of Urology at Washington University School of Medicine. Cordonnier served as chair from 1953-1970. He made an immense impact on the residents under his instruction throughout his career and until his death in 1980. The Visiting Professorship was established in 1974 by friends and former residents as a conduit to continue his educational legacy.
Between lectures, Washington University residents delivered excellent case presentations and sparked intriguing discussion among the visiting professors and Washington University faculty and trainees.
At the closing of the Caulk-Cordonnier event, Bhyani and Erica Traxel, MD, presented awards to the urology chief residents preceding their graduation that evening. While these awards are typically bestowed at the graduation ceremony, the 2022 graduates were awarded a special moment with the visiting professors and their colleagues. Awards went to Grant Henning, MD, Connor McCormick, MD, Carrie Ronstrom, MD, and Laura Lee, MD. Chief residents also presented the 2022 Charles B. Manley Teaching Award, voted upon by all trainees, to Lewis Thomas IV, MD.
Read more: Urology Graduation and Awards 2022
The Caulk and Cordonnier Visiting Professorships have long been held annually at Washington University School of Medicine, but the 2022 event made history in hosting them simultaneously. “It’s not often that we can celebrate individuals who have made so much impact on patients, all of us in the room, our community at Washington University and the community at large,” Eberlien said of the event. The combination of these two events and the enthusiastic engagement from the Washington University community brought forth a sense of togetherness as the Department closed out the year.
Congratulations to all graduating urology residents and fellows, and special thanks to Drs. Andriole and Allaf for sharing their time and invaluable knowledge with the Division of Urology at Washington University School of Medicine.