UH Urology Institute Spotlight: Debby Chuang, MD

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Building a robust hub for urology care

Innovations in Urology | Winter 2020

Debby Chuang, MDDebby Chuang, MD

The University Hospitals Urology Institute is undergoing an expansion process, supported by the addition of new team members. Debby Chuang, MD, a former University Hospitals resident, is returning to take the position of Chief of Urology at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood, Ohio. In her new role, she will help to develop a comprehensive offering of urologic care for patients in the area.

Dr. Chuang completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. With most of her family living on the East Coast, she headed to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for medical school. “During medical school clinical rotations, I met a fabulous team of doctors in the UH urology department and was fortunate enough to end up staying at UH for residency,” she says. Over the course of her medical school and residency training, Dr. Chuang spent about a decade in Cleveland.

UROLOGY INTERESTS

Dr. Chuang was attracted to the urology specialty for the diversity of procedures and practice. Urology affords her the opportunity to perform outpatient procedures to address issues like kidney stones, small bladder tumor and prostate health. Urology also calls for larger, more complex surgeries to address cancers, such as kidney, bladder and prostate cancers, and reconstructive procedures.

In addition to the surgical side of urology, Dr. Chuang values the continuity of care that develops in the field. She is able to take care of patients and build relationships over time. “It is a good mix of medicine and surgery,” she says.

Dr. Chuang has found that her field also gives her the opportunity to explore the latest technology. “I think urology is at the forefront of technologic advancements in medicine,” Dr. Chuang says. “As a field, it tends to be ahead of the game. That is what makes it interesting.”

This interest in technology also drove her first career move following residency. Dr. Chuang went to work at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Altoona in central Pennsylvania to help build its minimally invasive and robotics program. Prior to her arrival, UPMC Altoona was doing little in the way of surgical urology.

Over the course of four years, Dr. Chuang worked to establish a program to serve patients in the area. She performed a variety of surgical procedures, including stone treatment with lasers, prostate vaporization procedures, scrotal surgeries, and laparoscopic and robotic surgeries, such as prostatectomies, partial nephrectomies, and pyeloplasties. Before Dr. Chuang’s arrival in Altoona, many patients had to travel two hours away to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to undergo these procedures.

BUILDING THE PROGRAM

Back at UH, Lee Ponsky, MD, FACS, Director, UH Urology Institute, Leo and Charlotte Goldberg Chair of Advanced Surgical Therapies, Master Clinician in Urologic Oncology, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and Professor and Chairman, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has begun to build a more robust urology program. He reached out to Dr. Chuang to recruit her to help augment the program with her experience.

Excited about the prospect of helping to build another comprehensive program with both new and old colleagues, Dr. Chuang has come back to UH. “At its core UH has always had a very strong urology program,” she says.

With Dr. Chuang providing care at UH Ahuja Medical Center, the health system will be able to begin expanding that program beyond its main campus. In addition to urologic care, UH Ahuja Medical Center is building a more comprehensive program across multiple specialties that takes into consideration all aspects of men’s health.

UH TEAMWORK

Dr. Chuang is not alone in the efforts at UH to expand the urology and men’s health program. She points to the dynamic team of colleagues she is working with at the UH Urology Institute. “I like that there is a uniform department with the same goals, but we are able to highlight our subexpertise in the different hospitals and satellites,” she says. “We all bring something a little different from our previous experiences. I think that helps to strengthen the building process.”

Dr. Chuang says she is delighted to have the opportunity to work with her mentors, such as Dr. Ponsky; Donald Bodner, MD, Urologist, and Professor, School of Medicine; Adonis Hijaz, MD, Chief, UH Female Pelvic Medicine and Surgery Center, and Professor, School of Medicine; and Lynn Woo, MD, Interim Division Chief, Pediatric Urology, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor, School of Medicine.

In addition, Dr. Chuang is looking forward to working with some new faces. For example, Nannan Thirumavalavan, MD, Chief of Male Reproductive and Sexual Health, UH Urology Institute, provides infertility care. Shubham Gupta, MD, FACS, Director of Gender and Sexual Diversity Services, Division Chief of Reconstructive Urology, UH Urology Institute, and Associate Professor, School of Medicine, is establishing a gender care program at UH and performing complex reconstructive surgeries. Adam Calaway, MD, MPH, Urologic Oncologist, UH Urology Institute, and Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, is offering urologic oncology care, and Aram Loeb, MD, Urologist, UH Urology Institute, and Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, is championing men’s health with his experience in male sexual dysfunction. Jessica Hannick, MD, Pediatric Urologist, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, is helping to expand urologic care to pediatric patients.

“One of our main goals is to establish a more consistent basis and presence across Northeast Ohio so that our patients can have improved access for urologic care,” says Dr. Chuang. As the program expands, she and her colleagues are aiming to provide comprehensive urologic care for all patients who walk through their doors.

To refer or consult with Dr. Debbie Chuang, call 216-553-1595.

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