Department of Urology established at UC College of Medicine

Dr. Ayman Mahdy named interim chair

The Department of Urology became the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine’s 24th academic department on July 1. It had been a division of the Department of Surgery since 1960.

Ayman Mahdy, MD, PhD, who has been chief of the Division of Urology since November 2019, will serve as interim chair of the department. Mahdy joined the college faculty in 2011 as director of voiding dysfunction and female urology. He is board certified by the American Board of Urology in general urology and urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery. Internationally recognized for his expertise, Mahdy has been invited as a visiting professor, moderator, workshop director, speaker and physician consultant in several countries, including Canada, China, Algeria, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

With Alberto Martini, MD, starting in August as an assistant professor, the department will have six full-time faculty, 10 residents and seven advanced providers, and Mahdy sees potential for quick growth in the new department.

“It has a substantial opportunity for growth. Urology, being the third most common specialty catering to patients 65 years old and above, finds itself amidst a surge in the elderly sector and the baby boomer populations causing a substantial influx of patients,” Mahdy says.

However, he notes that with about 350 physicians graduating each year from highly competitive urology residency and fellowship programs, the number of urologists trained each year is much lower than what is needed. Data shows that about 60% of U.S. counties do not have a practicing urologist. This shortage is primarily because of a lack of funding for more residency slots and the growing numbers of urologists retiring early.

Attempts and discussions for the change to urology department status began about 21 years ago. A urology department transition committee was commenced in 2019 by Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean Andrew T. Filak Jr., MD, senior vice president for health affairs. The committee was led by Myles Pensak, MD, who was at the time senior associate dean for clinical affairs. This was toward the end of the term for James Donovan, MD, the previous Division of Urology director who retired in November 2019. The committee formulated an analysis report with action items in September 2019. 


Ayman Mahdy, MD, PhD, MBA, interim chair of the Department of Urology.

“It took a tremendous effort and support from the College of Medicine and Dean Filak, UC Physicians and Dr. Michael Archdeacon, and UC Health and Mr. Cory Shaw, to get this achieved,” Mahdy says. “Our faculty commitment to the tripartite mission and the support we received from Department of Surgery leadership of both Dr. Jeffrey Sussman and Dr. David Gerber were critical components of this achievement.”

The College of Medicine Council approved the change in February 2024 and the UC Board of Trustees gave its approval April 2024.

The change follows a national trend for urology divisions being elevated to departments. The vast majority of academic urology groups in the country now are departments.

“This will give us a better opportunity for national recognition and will make it more attractive for urology talent to join our faculty. It also will provide financial and operational autonomy and allow us a better opportunity for expansion and growth” Mahdy says.

Mahdy is now working with the urology recruitment committee on recruiting additional faculty to the department and is hoping to add at least one faculty member this year with the goal of having 10 faculty by 2030. Plans also call for creating a Urogynecology and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship Program in collaboration with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Mahdy envisions continued growth in current programs in collaboration with other services, such as the UC Pelvic Health Center at West Chester Hospital, and in care provided at the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center, the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and the Drake Center for Post-acute Care for neurologic patients.

“Furthermore, we would like to continue and promote our long-lasting collaboration with our urology colleagues at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the areas of residency training and pediatric-to-adult transition of care program. Last, but not least, we look forward to the establishment of a dedicated Gender Affirmation Surgery Program in collaboration of the departments of Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Surgery and Psychiatry,” Mahdy says.

Additionally, once the Department of Urology achieves targeted faculty volume, Courtney Plattner, MD, assistant professor and the Urology Residency Program director, will grow the new department’s residency program to three residents each year (two residents now join the program annually). The department continues to work on attracting more medical students to pursue a career in urology with Wesley Baas, MD, Class of 2015, serving as assistant professor and medical student clerkship director. Mahdy also wants to continue the department’s residency global program, which exposes UC urology residents to health systems around the world. Mahdy started the program in 2021 and has accompanied the two chief residents and Plattner to practice urology in Egypt for two weeks. Residents will be training in India this October while accompanied by Nilesh Patil, MD, professor.

“Becoming a department will also help establish our research infrastructure and promote the research aspect of urology,” Mahdy says. “We hired Dr. Alberto Martini, a uro-oncologist trained at MD Anderson, and he will serve as the urology research director for the department. In addition, we will hire a research coordinator to help expand clinical trials and grow grant funding initiative at our new department.”

“We will be working toward these growth potentials while we prioritize our patients’ safety above all else and work together as a team with our medical directors, Dr. Mohammed Kamel for West Chester Hospital and Dr. Nilesh Patil for the UC Medical Center and with the staff to maintain this goal,” Mahdy adds.

Tal Richards will serve as the new department’s executive department business administrator while continuing to serve in the same role for the Department of Surgery. He will be assisted by Craig Sucher, associate director of business administration.

The Department of Urology is the first new department at the College of Medicine since 2013 when the Department of Biomedical Informatics was created. Earlier this year, the department’s name changed to the Department of Biostatistics, Health Informatics and Data Services.

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