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ASK THE EXPERT: Hear from our 2018 AUGS Rodney Appell Continence Care Champion

Congratulations Dr. Steve W. Siegel

 2018 AUGS Rodney Appell Continence Care Champion

Dr. Siegel is the Director of the Metro Urology Centers for Female Urology and Continence Care. He established this center of excellence after moving to Minnesota in 1993. Previously, he was the Head of the Section of Female Urology and Urodynamics at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, and completed his urology residency at the Cleveland Clinic in 1986. Dr. Siegel is internationally recognized for his work related to urinary incontinence and voiding dysfunction. He is responsible for training urologists and gynecologists locally and nationally in specialized techniques and continues to actively participate in the education of fellows and colleagues, lectures, clinical research, and publication in medical journals.

 Several of Dr. Siegel’s former fellows have been recognized as “Top Doctors” and “Top Doctors for Women” in their areas of practice all over the country. He received the Christina Manthos Award for demonstrating extraordinary mentoring skills in supporting the careers of female urologists from the Society of Women in Urology in 2011. He was also honored with the David C. Utz Award for Urological Advancement and Innovation from the Minnesota Urological Society in 2002. He is a Past President of the North Central Section of the American Urological Association, and previous Board Member and Chairman of the Practice Standards Committee of the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction. He also served as a founding member and President of the International Society for Pelvic Neuromodulation.

For Dr. Siegel’s dedication to the field of urology, as a pioneer with tremendous contributions to new procedures and techniques and successful outcomes, The National Association For Continence is pleased to award Dr. Siegel the 2018 AUGS Rodney Appell Continence Care Champion.

In late fall of 2018, we sat down with Dr. Siegel to learn more about his career and his contributions to improving urological care.

NAFC: Tell us little more on your background and education.

Dr. Siegel: My father was a Urologist. He was a great mentor who derived personal and professional satisfaction from helping people everyday.  However, he didn’t fully understand women’s problems. He told me “urology is the greatest field, except for all the crazy women”, so to an important degree, I have been able to succeed in ways he did not. I graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, and completed my urology residency at the Cleveland Clinic in 1986. I had great mentors and training in medical school and residency. Later I received additional training from pioneers in the field that was to become FPMRS.

NAFC: Can you give us any career highlights or special recognitions or achievements, published studies?

Dr. Siegel: One of my greatest achievements was to aid in the successful establishment of the role of sacral neuromodulation for urinary complaints as a standard of care. At first, many, if not most, thought the concept was crazy. With a few others, I participated in the design and execution of key trials, ideas and products that helped break ground and make this method successful.  I have visited many colleagues at their own institutions, including travel to countries all over the world for teaching, training and collaboration. Sacral Neuromodulation was ground breaking in the 1980s and gained FDA approval in 1993. It has had a profoundly positive impact on urologic care all over the world, but first, there was a huge cultural shift that was needed.  We had to use the power of the podium and one on one teaching to translate new ideas about voiding disorders and to demonstrate the ultimate and enduring validity of the therapy to help spread the word and gain acceptance.

NAFC: What is most rewarding aspect in your current role?

Dr. Siegel: I really enjoy supporting and being a resource for my colleagues.  I have had about 30 fellows and they are like an extended family. I love mentoring people as a part of my life as a practitioner.  It has brought me tremendous joy and satisfaction.  I get questions from fellows and colleagues all over the world. Knowing I have played a role in helping others to understand and succeed in small and profound ways is very rewarding.

NAFC: What is the most challenging aspect about your role?

Dr. Siegel: Too many times I have had to sacrifice family time to stay on top of my job. I have had a lot of help from them in order to be successful.  I hope to make up for it somehow, but that has always been a challenge.

NAFC: What is your philosophy on providing the best urology care?

Dr. Siegel: It’s an honor to have this career, not a means to an end. I follow in the golden rule: treat others as you would yourself. Keep the other’s best interests in mind. Believe in patients, have an open mind, and be willing to change.

NAFC: What in your opinion are the keys to successful outcomes for the patients you treat?

Dr. Siegel: My patients aren’t usually dealing with a life or death situation. They may opt to do little or nothing about their concerns. We need to help them gain insight about the impact their condition may be having on their quality of life and an understanding of the potential advantages and disadvantages of the care being offered. We take their problems seriously, have high expectations of success, and will do more when asked. Patients also need to be empowered to advocate for themselves and be open to doing more when it’s needed.  

I think women are underserved and we must do a better job of listening and responding to their concerns. They often suffer from life-altering conditions, but there is great potential for significant improvement.  By removing patient blame and gaining understanding we can often hit a home run in successful treatment.

NAFC: What areas of research would you like to do or to see conducted to further advance care or patient outcomes?

Dr. Siegel: Sacral Neuromodulation is growing and being further refined.  I think more research needs to be done to expand the tools and indications, i.e. pelvic pain/IC, neurogenic bladder, and constipation.

NAFC: What has changed in the last 10 years for urology?

Dr. Siegel: Female health issues are being taken more seriously. More women are in the field than ever before. Many patients prefer female physicians.  There are lots more options than before along with vetted pathways and guidelines for their implementation.

NAFC: What is a common misperception about urology?

Dr. Siegel: That it is mostly for and about men’s health.

NAFC: What areas in urology do you see the need more improvement?

Dr. Siegel: More awareness about seeking help is needed. Only a small percentage of patients seek help and most don’t even know what normal is, or that there are many appropriate treatment options potentially available to them.  There is great hope and success for the patients that become aware and find the right help.

NAFC: What does being recognized by NAFC as a Continence Care Champion mean to you?

Dr. Siegel: It’s wonderful! It’s an unexpected honor and it’s a nice way to reflect on my family and mentors who have helped me, and my devotion to a career and the good I have done.  My dad would be proud.

About The Rodney Appell Continence Care Champion Award

In 2000 NAFC established the Rodney Appell Continence Care Champion Award (CCC) to recognize health care professionals who have excelled in three areas: 1) research 2) clinical practice and 3) education. All areas emphasize the advocacy and education of those who suffer from incontinence and related voiding dysfunctions within the public arena as well as those who treat and manage incontinence in the health care profession, the guiding mission of NAFC.

Over the years the Continence Care Champion Award has raised awareness, standards, and quality of the research and practice of bladder and bowel incontinence and related voiding dysfunctions. NAFC has honored health care professionals from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Geriatric Society (AGS), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS), the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH), the Society for Urodynamics and Female Urology (SUFU), the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates (SUNA), the Society for Women in Urology (SWIU), the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN).


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