University administrators named professor John Hulbert the new head of the Department of Urologic Surgery on Tuesday.
“We were waiting for the department to settle down for the last 10 years,” said urology professor Cesar Ercole. “So having somebody appointed makes us all happy, and I think we are looking into the future.”
Dr. Pratap Reddy has served as the interim department head since Dr. Elwin Fraley resigned from the position in September 1993.
Fraley resigned after he was discovered employing his wife and children, buying the department luxury cars with patient fees and borrowing money without written agreements.
Ercole said the faculty are relieved Hulbert will be the new head of urology and expect the change will make the department more energetic.
Hulbert, who has taught at the University since 1983, described his leadership style as collegial and open, and said he believes that is part of the reason he was appointed as head.
“I am very much a team player,” he said. “My colleagues are my equals. In other words, we’re equal partners. I just have duties which involve running the department.”
In the future, the urology department will focus on an inter-departmental and interdisciplinary study of prostate cancer, Hulbert said.
The department may become much more interdisciplinary and go through administrative changes because of re-engineering plans to restructure all seven health care schools in the Academic Health Center.
Hulbert said the upcoming changes will be a challenge, but he looks to the future as a “great time.”
“There’s no doubt we’re going to rise to the challenge,” Hulbert said.
Hulbert points to his experience of raising his autistic son as a challenge that has shaped his life and made him a better doctor because it has given him an appreciation of his patients’ difficulties.
“It made me far more understanding and sensitive to people who are carrying burdens like that,” Hulbert said. “I am amazed at how resilient people are.”
Hulbert graduated from the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in 1975 and then worked as a doctor in England. In 1977 and 1978, he worked in Australia, where his interest in urology was affirmed after seeing so many people suffer from kidney stones. Starting in 1980, he served as a resident of urology in Wisconsin for three years before he came to the University.