In the Spotlight: New UH Urologist Jessica H. Hannick, MD, MSc
November 11, 2019
Building rapport for today and improving outcomes for tomorrow
Innovations in Urology | Fall 2019
What draws a talented rising urologist to University Hospitals Urology Institute? For Jessica H. Hannick, MD, MSc, Pediatric Urologist at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, it starts at the top. “There has to be a leader like [UH Urology Institute Chairman] Dr. [Lee] Ponsky who is receptive to what you want to accomplish and willing to support you,” says Dr. Hannick. “Our department has a lot of passion and colleagues energized about opportunities for collaboration.
”Lynn Woo, MD, Interim Chief of Pediatric Urology, Program Director of the UH Urology Residency Program and Associate Professor at the School of Medicine, was also instrumental in Dr. Hannick’s decision to relocate to Cleveland. “Dr. Woo has such a positive presence and is so approachable,” Dr. Hannick says. “According to recent American Urological Association census data, women comprise only about 9 percent of practicing urologists. It was really important to me as a woman in academic urology to have a strong mentor.” Together, the two physicians are providing comprehensive pediatric urology care systemwide and also treating pediatric urology patients for the MetroHealth System.
Dr. Hannick knows that each appointment is an opportunity to connect not only with a child but also with one or both parents. “We see children from diverse educational, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds,” she says. “I have to ensure my patient is comfortable with me while also building rapport with the parents so they understand what is happening and trust me to care for their child.”
A RESEARCH PERSPECTIVE
Dr. Hannick completed fellowships at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and McMaster University Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, both located in Ontario, Canada. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Health Policy, Management and Evaluation from the University of Toronto, with a concentration in quality improvement and patient safety. She has a research interest in improving surgical outcomes in urology, including reducing lengths of stay and unexpected postoperative emergency visits, through the development of Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) protocols. “Essentially, we look at the patient’s journey, before during and after surgery, to build a bundle of best practices that improve efficiencies while still working to optimize patient and parent comfort,” she says.
Moving forward, Dr. Hannick plans to build a research database of hydronephrosis patients at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and provide prenatal consults when an ultrasound during pregnancy detects abnormal fetal kidneys and/or bladder. “We often don’t know in advance who will versus who won’t need surgical intervention following birth,” she says. “By meeting with mothers before delivery, we are able to help them have a better understanding of what is going on with their pregnancy and can closely follow these babies over time.”
Dr. Hannick is also planning to collaborate with colleagues at The Hospital for Sick Children to improve predictions of outcomes for hydronephrosis patients.
CONTRIBUTING TO MEDICAL MISSIONS
As a medical student at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Hannick began traveling abroad on medical and surgical mission trips. In January 2020, she will return to the Dominican Republic with her alma mater’s global health group on a weeklong trip to provide outpatient pediatric urologic surgical care, including orchidopexy and hernia/hydrocele, hypospadias and varicocele repair.
“Not just as a physician, but also as a person, these trips are such rewarding experiences,” says Dr. Hannick. “They help physicians gain a better appreciation for the resources you have and make you more adaptable in your home setting. They also enable us to provide care to communities with extremely limited access to specialty surgical care.
”She hopes to take UH urology residents with her in future years, giving them a unique opportunity to experience health care delivery in a different country and meet urologists and urogynecologists from other institutions around the world.
CLEVELAND DR. HANNICK'S NEW HOME BASE
Dr. Hannick joined the UH Urology Institute in August. As a runner, she is taking advantage of Cleveland’s extensive Metroparks and enjoying the city’s restaurant scene. “I have several friends who did their training here, and they all told me food is something Cleveland does very well!” she says.