Urology has historically been a specialty with mostly male physicians, but more women like Allison Glass, MD, are choosing to make that their specialty. Dr. Glass is joining the urology department with the Hutchinson Clinic in September.
The American Urological Association noted last year that for the first time, the number of women in urology surpassed 20% of all practicing urologists under the age of 45. The field has been slow to transition into the future, starting in 1962 when the first woman became a board-certified urologist to the mid-1980s when there were reportedly fewer than 25 women urologists. In the past decade or so, more women have been entering the field. The Society of Women in Urology, for example, has a membership of more than 300 board-certified female urologists, according to its website.
Dr. Glass, a native of the Kansas City area, says she decided early in her medical education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City that she wanted to perform surgery. Of all the types of surgery she trained in, she found those in urology the most fascinating, she says. She also found other aspects of the field interesting: that she could serve patients of all ages and sexes and provide clinical and outpatient procedures as well.
“I enjoyed obstetrics/gynecology and general surgery specialties, but with urology I thought I could be of greater help to someone who has an embarrassing or stigmatized condition and help them feel comfortable in seeking treatment,” she says.
This past summer, she completed a six-year urology residency at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, which is currently among the top 40 adult urology hospitals, according to U.S. News & World Report. In July, she took her urology board certification exam.
During her residency, Dr. Glass had the opportunity to treat various urological conditions. She says she’ll use her training experience to ensure new patients at the Hutchinson Clinic that “treatment decisions will be made jointly with patients. Patient safety, satisfaction and quality of care are my top priorities.”
Many treatments in urology have become technology driven. For example, robotic surgery, in which Dr. Glass has trained, has been a significant advancement in treating conditions. Other advances, Dr. Glass says, include endoscopic laser treatments.
The Hutchinson Clinic has access to a da Vinci Si robotic surgery system, which has already been used in more than 1,400 cases, according to Sue Wray, Director of Communications with Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, where the system is located.
“The Hutchinson Clinic is thrilled to add another da Vinci-trained surgeon to the staff,” says clinic CEO Michael Heck.
According to Intuitive, the manufacturer of the da Vinci systems, robotic-assisted urological procedures include prostatectomies, partial and total nephrectomies, cyst removals from kidneys, bladder surgery, surgical reconstruction of the renal pelvis, and ureteral reimplantation.
Experience — Not SEX — Matters
So what about the delicate question of whether the sex of the urologist makes a difference to the patient?
“My experience is that men are not bothered by seeing a woman provider, and they shouldn’t be,” Dr. Glass, says. “The ability to sympathize and treat a patient doesn’t come from being male or female. I’m successful because I’m an honest, clinically capable human being.”
Amanda Moore, PA-C and Robert Weingart, MD, FACS
Dr. Glass joins Hutchinson Clinic Urology Department, where she’ll join Robert Weingart, MD, FACS, and Amanda Moore, PA-C. Dr. Weingart specializes in stone disease, urologic cancer care and treatment, robotic surgery, male/female incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and pediatric care.
The Hutchinson Clinic serves a wide geographical area through clinics in Hutchinson, McPherson and Cheney and with its growing telemedicine program, which provides specialty healthcare access to patients in more rural areas.
According to clinic data, Hutchinson Clinic physicians have provided 250,000 appointments annually, seeing patients from all but two of Kansas’ 105 counties.
Dr. Glass says she’s looking forward to working with primary care physicians of patients who have urological concerns.
“I want other providers to know they should contact me early and often with concerns. Dialogue among medical professionals is critical to getting patients efficient and adequate care,” she says.
The Hutchinson Clinic urology department is located on the second floor in the 2107 building on the 2101 N. Waldron campus. For questions or referrals, call 620-669-2570.