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The Department of Urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has a long history education and research—follow the timeline below to see some of the key events that have made us the department we are today.


Edmund Andrews becomes the founder and the first chair of surgery at the medical school. While urology is only one of his interests, he performs stone surgery and conducts experiments in ways of providing illumination of cystoscopy.


Christian Fenger becomes the chair of surgery. He originates a pyeloplasty and collaborates in intestinal substitution for the ureter with Weller Van Hook.


Weller Van Hook is named the third chair of surgery.


Louis E. Schimdt, MD, persuades Northwestern to add the Department of Urology. He is named its first chair. He helps start urological services in many Chicago-area hospitals. Dr. Schmidt is best known as a crusader for making the treatment of gonorrhea available to the poor and for leading a national fight to adopt blood tests for syphilis. These issues often find him in opposition to organized medicine.


The American Urological Society (AUA) is formed. Dr. Schmidt helps to start a branch in Chicago. He develops a national reputation and serves as president of the AUA and the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons.


Vincent J. O'Conor, Sr., MD, establishes the residency program in urology.


Dr. O'Conor is named chair of the Department of Urology.


Northwestern recruits John T. Grayhack, MD, to his native Illinois after two years in the Air Force. A bequest by a Northwestern alumnus and prominent Chicago urologist Herman Kretschmer offers an opportunity to establish a laboratory. Dr. Grayhack directs the new urologic research facility.


Dr. Grayhack is promoted to associate professor and named chair of the Department of Urology. With this position, the Northwestern urology residency program is extended to include a year of research fellowship in his laboratory. 


Dr. Grayhack is named the Herman Kretschmer Professor, a post that he held for 28 years.


The residency program is strengthened by an affiliation with Children's Memorial and Evanston Hospitals.


The Grayhack lab is enhanced by the recruitment of endocrinologist Chung Lee, PhD. Dr. Lee arrives at Northwestern in 1971 to conduct endocrinology research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 1974, Dr. Grayhack recruits him to the Department of Urology as an assistant professor and director of the Urology Research Laboratory. Over his career, Dr. Lee's productivity advances him to the level of full professor and a joint appointment with the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology. Under his direction, the laboratories grow steadily and produce large volumes of basic research.


Anthony J. Schaeffer, MD, is named chair of the Department of Urology. Dr. Schaeffer comes to Northwestern as an assistant professor in 1976 and becomes an AUA Scholar upon his arrival. He establishes a research laboratory and by 1980 has achieved NIH funding. He becomes an associate professor in 1982, full professor in 1986 and is named the Herman L. Kretschmer Professor in 1992.


Chung Lee, PhD, is named the first recipient of the John T. Grayhack Professorship in Urological Research.


Edward (Ted) M. Schaeffer, MD, PhD, is named chair of the Department of Urology. Dr. Schaeffer comes to Northwestern as a professor from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His laboratory focuses on the molecular biology of locally aggressive prostate cancers and the impact of race on the biology of prostate cancer.


Northwestern Medicine received a $10 million gift to fund the creation of a new multidisciplinary institute dedicated to urologic cancers. The Polsky Urologic Cancer Institute of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University at Northwestern Memorial Hospital will offer the most comprehensive approach to treating urologic cancers.

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