New Department Established, Addressing Growing Demand for Urologists in Region

July 14, 2006
CONTACT: Suzanna Cisneros Martinez,
(806) 743-2143

LUBBOCK – The American Urologic Association states that the ratio of urologists to the population in the West Texas region is one urologist to every 55,998 persons. There are currently only 34 urologists in this region. The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has established a new Department of Urology in hopes of providing more physicians in this field.

Because of our aging population, the number of persons older than 65 will increase by 100 percent between the years 2000 and 2030. Werner T.W. de Riese, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the new department, said the increasing aging population is causing a demand for urologic services nationwide.

“This age group is the primary user of urologic services. As an academic health institution, the Health Sciences Center must meet our primary mission of teaching future doctors, in this case urologists, as well as conducting research and providing quality clinical service in the field,” de Riese said.

Currently the nation’s academic health institutions are losing many urology residency programs. The number of residents being trained in urology decreased 6.6 percent nationally over the last several years.

“With this new department, the primary educational goal is to establish the residency program in order to train competent, knowledgeable doctors in this specialty,” de Riese said. “By meeting the current and growing demand for urology physicians in this region, the department and residency program will address the service needs and patient care necessary for Lubbock and the surrounding communities.”

The Department of Urology also will provide urology care for University Medical Center and the Veterans Administration outpatient clinic.

De Riese said training urology residents locally will benefit West Texas. “On average, between 40 to 50 percent of all residents completing training at the Health Sciences Center stay and practice medicine in Texas.”

Other faculty and physicians of the Department of Urology include: Bernhard T. Mittemeyer, M.D.; Jonathan S. Vordermark, M.D., specialist in pediatric urology; and David Van Buren, M.D., specialist in kidney transplant surgery. Other faculty and physicians coming include: researcher Stephanie Filleur, Ph.D.; Allan Haynes, M.D., and Thomas Nelius, M.D.