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Urology Chair Reflects on Year One

September 20, 2022
by Cheri Lewis

The self-imposed benchmark was set for four years from now, but urology Professor and Chair Isaac Y. Kim, MD, PhD, MBA, says he can already check one thing off his departmental to-do list.

Yale Urology recently ranked among the top 50 urology programs in the country, as listed by U.S. News & World Report. “It’s an imperfect ranking, but one of the most visible – especially to our patients – so, it’s important,” says Kim.

To be clear, Yale Urology’s leader does not approach the #47 rank, or anything else in his vision for the 10-year-old department, as “arrived.”

“Is it ok to say our goal is to make it into the top 10?” he asks. With his humility comes firm resolve. As Kim looks back on his first year as urology chair in the School of Medicine and chief of urology at Yale New Haven Hospital, he is constantly leaning forward— listening, learning, and lighting a fire.

“As we grow our department, we’ll continue elevating the quality of care by engaging our faculty, trainees, and clinic staff” says Kim. “And we’ll take our research and education programs to the next level, by injecting different perspectives through strategic recruitments.” Kim is calculated with his use of “we” and “our.” He says a team culture is essential to a dynamic, successful, inclusive program and to becoming a destination in all areas of urologic care, research, and teaching.

“I have no doubt we’ll become a destination program. We have a great team. Combined with a few key recruitments, we will be set to take our place on the global stage of urology,” predicts Kim. Strategic growth and quality recognition have been on his radar from the beginning and he says he is already seeing the needle move. “In my practice alone, I’m noticing more patients being referred from outside the state … including Florida and inquiries from Europe.”

As a surgeon who has completed more than 2,200 robotic surgeries for prostate cancer, Kim is rarely rattled. He admits, though, he has been pleasantly surprised at the breadth of experience and quality of the entire department, throughout all its locations. “Often, clinical programs can be mothership-centric. The level of quality in New Haven is expected, but I also see that quality in our eastern service area, and the engagement of our faculty in the western region, and their desire to grow, are refreshing,” says Kim. “We’re poised for something even greater.”

What’s next? Kim says his second and third years will be focused on strategic faculty recruitment, especially in the area of translational research. He hopes to hire a vice chair of research and will continue to seek resources and a research infrastructure within the department that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and investigator-initiated trials.

By the way, Kim admits he and his family have not had a lot of time, yet, to explore Connecticut, but he has checked out some recommended seafood stops [Lobster Landing in Clinton, and Abbott’s Lobster in Noank]. He has also done a “hiking warm-up” at Sleeping Giant State Park. If you have any other must-see suggestions, he is open and eager to experience and accomplish much more. “I’m just getting started!”

Submitted by Cheri Lewis on September 20, 2022