As a first-timer to the AUA, I did not know what to expect from this meeting but one thing for sure was that San Francisco would put on a show. I have always been told that everything is big in America so let’s see: plenty of big names present (check), big conference centre (check), big smiles everywhere (check), big news (check)! (but a diminutive author, to put this all together).
It may have been half-way across the world but the royal wedding brought a buzz of excitement to many at the meeting and that perfectly set up the rest of the weekend!
What a very special morning watching my amazing college friend & Kappa sister #MeghanMarkle marry the love of her life ❤️ Fairy tales really do come true! Wishing a lifetime of happiness to the beautiful couple! ??? #royalwedding pic.twitter.com/dLzyZZhDFf
— Stacy Loeb, MD (@LoebStacy) May 19, 2018
On Sunday, we were treated to one of the city’s quintessential experiences: The Bay to Breakers race. Getting to the Moscone centre may have been a bit difficult as a result of all the road closures but the runners offered plenty of entertainment on the commute.
Some of the male runners decided to bare it all and one wonders whether their boldness comes from having read the ‘biggest paper” at AUA2018!
“Biggest” urology paper at #AUA18: nonogram of penis size in 15,000+ men! (@altmetric score ~400x higher than the average paper!!) @BJUIjournal @prokarurol #plenary https://t.co/4zrMi4CDCh pic.twitter.com/Ri1JwQGHNJ
— Alex Small (@alexcsmall) May 19, 2018
At the conference centre, there was no shortage of excitement with the annual AUA residents bowl challenge happening over the weekend culminating in the final between South Central – Pirates of the Perineum vs Western – California Streamin’. This was a tense battle that went into overtime with the Western – California Streamin’ taking out the overall prize.
— Amer. Urol. Assn. (@AmerUrological) May 21, 2018
A recurring theme at the meeting was ‘the rise of the machines’. A few abstracts presented suggested the role of artificial intelligence (A.I) to not only interpret MRI but also to determine who needs an MRI! Should clinicians be worried about losing their jobs to machines? The hope is that A.I does not replace clinicians but aids in improving the diagnostic accuracy. Ralph Clayman also mentioned the potential use technology in surgical rehearsal and even true automation!
Pathologists need not worry about being replaced by computers according to @larrygoldenberg but @PeterPintoMD disagrees, stating both radiologists and pathologists will inevitably be replaced pic.twitter.com/tjpiqB5C4a
— Peter Black (@pcvblack) May 21, 2018
— Prokar Dasgupta (@prokarurol) May 21, 2018
A Japanese group also presented their work on the potential role of A.I in screening for STI’s – the possibilities are truly endless!
Not the best photo, but my favorite poster at AUA. An online program to diagnose STDs…just imagine what IBM’s Watson could do! pic.twitter.com/F4LCLx9qVA
— Henry Rosevear (@5RosesUrology) May 21, 2018
On Sunday, we were treated to the BAUS-BJUI-USANZ joint session at Marriott Marquis. This was a great session with talks ranging from prostate cancer genomics to tissue engineering for reconstruction. During the session, Dr Ballentine Carter paid tribute to Donald Coffey before presenting the Coffey-Krane prize to Dr Xiaosong Meng.
— BJU International (@BJUIjournal) May 21, 2018
Coffey refrain “I never took a course in any Dept I am a full professor in” not bragging—meant to inspire mentees that greatness can come from anyone. RIP #HailToTheChief #AUA18 pic.twitter.com/9F17Ej4urK
— Matt Nielsen (@m_e_nielsen) May 21, 2018
I should also point out that Dr Bal Carter himself won an award at AUA2018 and the legitimacy of this award cannot be questioned as this was voted for by one of the top social media influencers! I shall say no more…
— Stacy Loeb, MD (@LoebStacy) May 20, 2018
Dr Caroline Moore presented the results of their landmark PRECISION trial. However, following on from the spine-tingling “Court is in session” case on post-TRUS biopsy sepsis and the comment earlier in the meeting on the superiority of a well done ultrasound over MRI, it was not surprising that the crowd here was still a bit sceptic about the benefits of MRI.
#AUA18 : Dr Pat Fulgham Course Director for Multiparametric Prostate ultrasound course providing a devils advocate view of mp-MRI & Precision Trial- his claim is that well done/expert Prostate ultrasound is better than MRI ! pic.twitter.com/AIkhBz4Ydy
— Judd Moul (@JuddMoul) May 19, 2018
— Antti Rannikko (@RannikkoAntti) May 21, 2018
The issue of gender diversity in leadership positions also came up at the meeting. The presidents’ reception photo only showed two female presidents and there was a call for improvement in this regard. It was encouraging to note that there were sessions at the meeting that focussed on how to bridge the gender gap and a few articles have been published recently in the literature looking at exactly this issue.
— Declan Murphy (@declangmurphy) May 21, 2018
Lively discussion @SWIUorg on how to bridge the gender & diversity gap thru leadership engagement support and mentorship @AmerUrological #AUA18 @SuzetteESutherl @endourologyccf @WomenSurgeons pic.twitter.com/bX3aQseROy
— Una Lee (@Dr_UnaLee) May 20, 2018
Away from the conference, I got to experience a bit of what San Francisco had to offer including the NBA Western conference finals (Go Warriors!!!), Napa wine region, a ride across the bridge, Alcatraz island, Tiburon, drowned in the shopping experience at the Livermore outlets. San Francisco has some great restaurants showcasing food from all around the world which I got to enjoy. Overall, this was a great meeting in a great host city and my first AUA experience definitely lived up to the hype and am already looking at what Chicago 2019 has in store!
Dr. Tatenda Nzenza,University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery, Austin Hospital, Melbourne; Department of Surgical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne; and Young Urology Researchers Organisation (YURO), Australia