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Erickson appointed to Rubin H. Flocks Professorship in Urology

Bradley Erickson, MD, professor of urology in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and director of the UI Department of Urology's Division of Functional Urology, has been appointed to the Rubin H. Flocks Professorship in Urology.

The professorship is named for the pioneering urologist who served as chair of the Department of Urology from 1949 until 1974.

Dr. Erickson was honored at an investiture ceremony on June 16 that was attended by leaders of the Carver College of Medicine and the UI Center for Advancement, along with the benefactors of the professorship, Jennifer Niebyl, MD, former chair of the UI Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and her husband, C. Allan Poots.

Bradley Erickson, MD, Rubin H. Flocks Professor of Urology

"It's so important to have the ability to think, to innovate, and be creative in order to push the boundaries forward," Dr. Erickson said in his remarks. "It's professorships like this that allow that to happen."

Dr. Erickson was described by Karl Kreder, MD, chair of the Department of Urology, as a "very productive clinician and a prolific researcher" with a passion for scientific rigor. Dr. Kreder lauded Dr. Erickson's role as a founding member and past president of the multi-institutional Trauma Urologic Reconstructive Network Surgeons (TURNS) group, which has made great strides in advancing scientific rigor and standardization.

"This is one of the major contributions Brad has helped to bring to the whole field of reconstructive urology," Dr. Kreder said. "A gift like this will allow him to continue this work, and I'm confident he will do great work well into the future."

Mr. Poots shared the heartfelt story of how his own urologic care at the UI spans more than 60 years, beginning with the time when, as a student, he felt a pain in his side that wouldn't go away. The pain was a symptom of a damaged kidney and an obstruction between the kidney and the bladder, Mr. Poots said, and the surgery to repair it was performed by Dr. Flocks himself, who took the time to draw a diagram directly on Mr. Poots's bedsheet to explain the procedure to him.

Mr. Poots then discussed other UI urology faculty who have treated him through the years—a list that resembled a historical timeline of department luminaries, including former department chairs David A. Culp, MD, and Richard D. Williams, MD.

"When Dr. Williams passed away, I met a new friend—Dr. Bradley Erickson," Mr. Poots said. "I'm happy to end this story with a footnote: The pain inside never came back, and the kidney's still working."

Dr. Erickson, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a graduate of the Carver College of Medicine. He served his residency in urology and general surgery at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University and a fellowship in trauma and reconstructive urology at the University of California, San Francisco. He returned to the UI in 2010 to join the Department of Urology.

He has published more than 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals, he has served as principal investigator on National Institutes of Health grants, and he frequently presents at national and international meetings.

During residency, Dr. Erickson said, he first learned about Dr. Flocks from John Grayhack, MD, former chair of urology at Northwestern and longtime editor of the Journal of Urology.

"Rubin Flocks treated patients nobody else would treat," Dr. Erickson said. "He did things for patients when all hope was lost. So it’s fitting, hopefully, that I've been given this professorship in his name, because much of my practice consists of people, and problems, that nobody else wants to take care of, that no one else has given a chance. I take a lot of pride in that and continue to draw inspiration from my predecessors here at Iowa."

Monday, June 20, 2022