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The Case Western Reserve University Department of Urology—housed within one of the nation's top medical schools—has a reputation for training some of the best academic urologists in the country.

In 1939, the Department began its urology residency training program, and earned ACGME accreditation in 1958. Since that time, many of our alumni have continued on to become urology department chairpersons at institutions, such as John Hopkins University (Patrick C. Walsh, 1974-2004), UCLA (Jean DeKernion), Harvard University-Massachusetts General Hospital (W. Scott McDougal), Loyola University (Robert C. Flanigan), University of Miami (Mark S. Soloway), Beaumont Hospitals (Kenneth M. Peters) and University of Toledo (Steven H. Selman).

During our illustrious history, the Department has been guided by renowned urologists: Lester Persky, MD; Martin I. Resnick, MD; and Firouz Daneshgari, MD.

Lester Persky, MD, CWRU Professor and Urology Chairman

A Cleveland native, Dr. Lester Persky received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University and completed his surgical and urology training in Boston before joining the faculty of CWRU in 1951. He served as department chair and professor of surgery for nearly 30 years, and was recognized nationally as a speaker, educator, writer and surgeon. During his tenure, the Department focused on training and clinical activities.

Famous for his work ethic, Dr. Persky was one of the most preeminent and published urologists of his time, with more than 200 scientific papers to his credit, while also maintaining a busy practice. During most of the 1960s, he was the only urologist in Cleveland performing radical prostatectomies. Dr. Perksy also won multiple awards, including the American Urological Association's (AUA) Distinguished Service Award, AUA Gold Cane Award and AUA Certificate of Achievement Award.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of his legacy was the quantity and quality of residents he trained during his tenure; today, many of his former students and residents have become urology department chairpersons. In his honor, the Lester Persky Endowed Professorship at CWRU was established.

Martin Resnick, MD, CWRU Lester Persky Professor & Chair of Urology

Dr. Martin Resnick succeeded Dr. Lester Persky as chairman of the CWRU Department of Urology in 1981. He held the position for 26 years, until his passing in 2007. Dr. Resnick attended medical school at Wake Forest University in N.C. and completed his urology training at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago.

During his time as chair, the Department expanded its residency training program, creating an exchange program between CWRU and Cleveland Clinic. The Urology Department also began to build a foundation for basic and translational research in urolithiasis and prostate cancer—two of Dr. Resnick's areas of expertise.

In addition to his duties as chair, Dr. Resnick, a leading urologist of his time, served as president of the AUA from 2003-2004, trustee of the American Board of Urology from 1997-2003, editor of Journal of Urology, and committee member for several national urology associations, including National Institutes of Health, National Kidney Foundation and American Medical Association. He also won several awards, such as the AUA Gold Cystoscope Award, AUA Distinguished Contribution Award, AAGUS Spence Award and American Foundation for Urologic Diseases Russell Scott Education Award.

Firouz Daneshgari, MD, CWRU Lester Persky Professor & Chair of Urology

In 2009, Dr. Firouz Daneshgari was named the third chair of the Department of Urology at CWRU. He attended Tehran School of Medical Sciences in Iran, and completed his surgical training at the University of Chicago, his urology training at the University of Colorado and a urology fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Prior to becoming chair at CWRU, Dr. Daneshgari served as chairman and director of the Center for Research and Innovation at the Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, and as professor and chairman of Upstate Medical University's Department of Urology in Syracuse, N.Y.

Since his arrival at CWRU, Dr. Daneshgari has focused on the integration of translational and clinical research into the daily life of the department. Under his direction, the urology residency training program has changed to five years of urology training and one year of general surgery training, making it one of the few academic urology programs in the country to offer a fully protected year of research during its residency training. In addition, Dr. Daneshgari helped launch the Urology Institute (UI) at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in 2010. UH UI is home to several clinical centers as well as centers for education and communication, research and innovation, outcomes research and quality care, and disease prevention. These centers were established with an overarching goal of rapidly expanding translational research within the department and training a new generation of scientists and surgeon-scientists whose work and career will primarily focus on urological diseases.

Dr. Daneshgari's clinical and research areas of expertise include diseases of the lower urinary tract, such as female pelvic floor dysfunction (FPFD) and female incontinence caused by diabetes. He is one of the leading translational research scientists on FPFD, and in 2007, he received the Zimkend Award from the Society for Urodynamics and Female Urology for "continuous and excellent contribution and leadership in urodynamics and voiding dysfunction."


Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Accredited Program History: Program 4803821118. Retrieved on Oct. 22, 2010, from

Sajadi, K. P., and Goldman, H. B. (September 2010). The History of Urology in Cleveland, Ohio. Journal of Urology. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2010.05.039

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Chris M. Gonzalez, MD, MBA, FACS
Lester Persky Professor and Chairman
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Director, UH Urology Institute
Department of Urology
University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

Historical Highlights

  • 1939
    CWRU establishes urology resident training program
  • 1950s
    CWRU Professor George Austen Jr. develops the first successful series of radical prostatectomies in Cleveland
  • 1954
    Professor and Urology Chair Martin Resnick co-authors Campbell's Urology, the most comprehensive urology textbook to date
  • 1958
    CWRU/UHCMC Urology Residency Training Program receives ACGME accreditation.
  • 1975
    Professor of Biochemistry Leonard Skeggs and his colleagues discover that human rennin, an enzyme produced by the kidney, is involved in hypertension
  • 1991
    First triple organ transplant in Ohio—a kidney, liver and pancreas—is performed by Professor of Surgery James A. Schulak and colleagues.
  • 1999
    SOM and UH Researchers discover the first link to a gene controlling inherited susceptibility to testicular cancer
  • 2000
    Clinical Professor of Urology Craig D. Zippe and colleagues at Cleveland Clinic pioneer minimally invasive technique to remove the prostate, a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
  • 2005
    SOM researchers and colleagues from other institutions find the first gene responsible for inherited susceptibility of testicular cancer in mice
  • 2010
    Carter Kissell Associate Professor of Urology Sanjay Gupta and colleagues find potential mechanism for the link between a high-fat diet and the risk of prostate cancer