Education: Urologic Oncology Fellowship: Program Overview

About our Fellowship

Program Overview

Our Urologic Oncology Fellowship provides comprehensive training in the evaluation and management of urologic malignancies, as well as the tools to evaluate and contribute to the research in this field. Fellows complete a clinical year followed by a research year.

Fellows acquire advanced expertise in the multidisciplinary management of urologic cancers, including the ability to apply the critical principles of: 

  • Radiation oncology 
  • Medical oncology 
  • Urologic imaging  
  • Pathology 
  • Advanced understanding of the biology of urologic malignancies through: 
  • Clinical experiences 
  • Self-directed learning 

The Urologic Oncology curriculum 

  • Research endeavors, including learning: 
    • Study design 
    • Biostatistics 
    • Clinical trials 
    • Data analysis 
    • Scientific methodology 
    • Laboratory research 

We adhere to the same goals as the SUO accrediting body, including teaching our fellows:

  • To manage a clinical practice 
  • To participate in continuing education 
  • Skills for self-education 
  • To collaborate in translational research 

Conferences and Workshops

At Vanderbilt, fellows participate in multiple conferences and attend association and professional workshops and meetings.

Conference schedule:

  • Radiographic Case Discussion 
  • Department meeting 
  • Journal Club 
  • Research meeting
  • Multidisciplinary Tumor Board (Wednesdays) 
  • Bi-Monthly Oncology Conference 
  • Research Updates
  • Didactic conference (Fridays) 
  • Pathology conference

These conferences provide a framework for learning the biology of urologic cancers and a stimulus for research investigation.

  • American Association for Cancer Research Molecular Biology in Clinical Oncology Workshop 
  • Biostatistics (MPH course) 
  • Society of Urologic Oncology 
  • Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association (SESAUA) 
  • AUA meetings 
  • Genitourinary Cancers Symposium-American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 
  • ASCO meetings 

Clinical Program

First-year fellows dedicate their time to clinical training and the development of surgical skills and clinical acumen. Fellows spend three days a week in a surgical setting and one and a half days each week in the clinic, learning the intricacies of the multidisciplinary management of urologic cancers.

Intensive surgical training includes hands-on experience in:

  • Open surgery 
  • Laparoscopy 
  • Robotic surgery  
  • Energy-ablative and image-guided techniques

The team approach has always been emphasized at Vanderbilt.  As a result, there is extensive and close interaction with residents, medical students, and co-fellows.  Shared learning as well as independent experiences are promoted and supported.
After Jan. 1 of the first fellowship year, fellows earn:

  • Faculty appointment 
  • Opportunity to book, identify your own cases and have your own clinic time (once/month) 
  • Moonlighting opportunities

Research Program

Second and third-year fellows spend their time on research. Fellows start a research project or projects under the guidance of one or more research mentors. Some fellows begin their research projects before arriving at Vanderbilt. The goals are to:

  • Acquire research skills that can be applied to a career in academic Urologic Oncology 
  • Make impactful contributions to the care of patients with urologic cancers 

Our fellows enjoy independence and latitude in their research, which yields many:

  • Significant gains and understanding around many clinical questions  
  • Numerous publications 

Research laboratories. Many fellows work in one of our department’s research laboratories. One possible faculty mentor is Robert Matusik, PhD. Dr. Matusik’s research focuses on androgen regulation of gene expression, and his lab develops novel transgenic mouse models for prostate cancer.
Health services research. Some fellows pursue health services research, working within the Center for Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research. Faculty member David Penson, MD, MPH. Dr. Penson is Principal Investigator of the Comparative Effectiveness Analysis of Surgery and Radiation (CEASAR) study on prostate cancer and was awarded a $7.6 million dollar stimulus grant for the study. Faculty member Daniel Barocas, MD, MPH, is a co-investigator on this study and is another member of the Urology faculty with expertise in health services research.

CJ Stimson MD, JD provides unique opportunities for fellows interested in health care policy, health care delivery and payment transformation, and value-based care. Through policy-oriented research or strategy and operations preceptorships, Dr. Stimson gives Vanderbilt urologic oncology fellows the opportunity to lay the foundation for a career at the intersection of clinical care, health care policy, and health care administration.  

Research opportunities. Our fellows enjoy varied research avenues, including:

Beyond the lab:

  • Masters of Public Health 
  • Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation 
  • Masters of Clinical Informatics 
  • Individualized clinical and translational projects


Fellows work and learn in multiple Vanderbilt facilities, including:

Global Health

Global health missions are available for fellows who are interested. Faculty member Joseph A. Smith, Jr. MD, leads trips to Africa to train doctors there in urologic procedures and to provide care for residents who need it.
Fellows plan and design each trip, look for research opportunities and gain experience in teaching and learning from others. Our Global Health missions expose fellows to:

  • Global surgery 
  • Experience in continually giving back 
  • Creatively innovating to find surgical and care solutions 
  • Working with others from varied backgrounds