HUMANITARIAN The AUA’s Ongoing Commitment to Our Global Humanitarian Mission

By: David F. Penson, MD, MPH, Secretary, AUA | Posted on: 10 Nov 2023

The AUA is committed to improving urologic and public health around the world. The collective humanitarian work of the AUA and the Urology Care Foundation™ (UCF) continues to elevate urological health care across the world, and this important issue of AUANews is a showcase of these efforts. Thank you to Dr Stacy Tanaka for publishing this first humanitarian focus issue, hopefully the first of many features of this important work in AUANews.

This issue wouldn’t have happened without the hard work and dedication of Dr Harris Nagler and Guest Editor Dr Joseph Smith. These efforts to improve global health continue to make the world a better place for all. Although the AUA and UCF support many global humanitarian projects, I have chosen to focus on 2 of our most critical humanitarian efforts: AUA support of urologic educational training in Haiti through the Global Philanthropic Committee (GPC) and our Humanitarian Grants Program.

In 2010, Dr Robert Flanigan, then the AUA secretary, helped spearhead the creation of the GPC, a partnership of the AUA, the European Association of Urology, and the Société Internationale d’Urologie, to provide support to humanitarian efforts in global areas of need. In 2016, the International Continence Society joined the collaboration. In a 2021 European Urology Today article, Dr John Denstedt noted that “The GPC is a way for urology organizations to pool their collective resources to fund larger humanitarian projects in urology. It is a way for the largest urological societies in the world to collaborate and to focus on a common goal of advancing urology in underserved areas.”1 Through the GPC, the AUA has supported urologic educational training in Haiti. Specifically, the AUA has supported the work of a dedicated urology nurse at the Hôpital Saint François de Sale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This nurse manages and oversees all of the urological equipment at the hospital and teaches and assists local clinicians to deliver critical urologic care to those most in need. In addition, the AUA and the GPC have worked with industry supporters and individual donors to send thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and supplies to Haiti. Finally, the AUA and GPC have worked closely with Dr Angelo Gousse and the Global Association for the Support of Haitian Urology to support ongoing urologic education, including several seminars, workshops, and conferences for local urologists in Port-au-Prince.


Figure. QR code to access the recording of the Urology Care podcast “From Healing to Hope: Urologists Share Their Passion for Changing Lives Around the World,” featuring Urology Care Foundation™ winners Drs Rajiv K. Singal and Dana Weiss.

On a different note, the UCF’s Humanitarian Grants Program has focused on supporting the individual efforts of AUA members to improve global health. This year, AUA members received grants for their affiliated work with nonprofit organizations both within and outside the United States. The stories of these winners are compelling and motivational. Lee Ann Richter, MD, of Georgetown University School of Medicine, serves on the Board of the International Organization for Women and Development. She spends 2 weeks a year in Rwanda, providing fistula repair–related evaluations and operations. Kymora Scotland, MD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, plans to partner with Gold Standard Urology to host screening events for a wide range of urological conditions in south Los Angeles. Rajiv K. Singal, MD, FRCSC, of Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto, is working to create resources for sustainable urological health care in Malawi. Samit Sunny Roy, MD, MSPH, of the University of Tennessee, will provide urological surgery training and postoperative care during an upcoming stay at the Sadhbhavna Trust Hospital, Kalsar, Bhavnager, Mahua, Gujarat, India. Suzette Sutherland, MD, of the University of Washington, regularly volunteers her expertise in Dakar, Senegal, and will travel there again in fall 2023 with IVUMed (International Volunteers in Urology) to evaluate patients with stress urinary incontinence, emphasizing the use of low-risk, minimally invasive treatments. Dana Weiss of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is a 16-year volunteer at the Civil Hospital Amdavd in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, where she has provided direct care to patients with bladder exstrophy.

As part of this focus issue, the Urology Care Foundation recorded a podcast with 2 of the 7 UCF winners: Drs Singal and Weiss (Figure). I encourage you to take the time to learn more about their goals and missions and what they have learned from their one-of-a-kind experiences.

  1. Long-term and sustained improvements is the goal. European Urology Today. September 21, 2021:43.