(Compiled from information provided by Harry Spence, MD, in April, 1988. Dr. Spence was a founding member of the society who was a professor of urology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas until his death in 1994. The Harry Spence Essay Contest for residents was named in his honor. Printed in Summer 1996 issue of The Texas Urologist.)
Shortly after the end of World War II, the time was ripe for the formation of a society of those physicians in Texas devoting themselves to the practice of urology. Indeed the specialty itself had really become of age just a bit before the beginning of the conflict, when transurethral prostatic resection, intravenous pyelography, and the first effective antimicrobials (sulfonamides) had come into general usage.
The two groups involved were the younger contingent from the military services, most of whom had done little related to their specialty while on active duty, and the older practitioners who were badly overworked on the home front with little time for professional advancement.
The Organizational Meeting
The new organization, which was to meet the needs of both groups, was born on the front porch of Dr. Robert Cone, Professor of Urology at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where the Texas State Medical Association was meeting in May of 1946. Heretofore urologists had been unstructured as a group, most preferring to exhibit their wares before the established sections of the TMA, such as that of general surgery, so that a wider recognition both of the specialty itself as well as themselves as individuals might result.
Among those present at the initial luncheon on the Cone front porch, memory recalls Drs. Weems Turner, Reese Blundell, Cecil Crigler, and Michael O'Heeron from Houston; Jo C. Alexander, Karl King, Harold O'Brien, and myself (Harry Spence) from Dallas; Bill Heck and Manning Venable from San Antonio; and Charles Hools and Robert Cone from the host city. Undoubtedly others were there, but because no roll of attendance was kept, their names have been lost.
In any case, there was an enthusiastic consensus that we ought to have an independent Texas Urological Society, unencumbered by formality, but rather a free-wheeling group to discuss tricks of the trade, recount interesting case histories, review baffling pyelograms, and to consider all things urologic, both proved and preliminary in nature.
At the time there were only a handful of urologists over the state, mostly confined to the larger medical centers with a few scattered among the smaller communities. However, the numbers were growing rapidly, so that the Texas State Urological Society fulfilled a true need. It was decided to have an annual meeting with the program to be gotten up by the secretary. Michael O'Heeron of Houston was the first secretary, and that city was chosen for the second meeting to be held Dec. 2, 1946, with Jo C. Alexander of Dallas as president.
This Second Annual Meeting in December of 1946 was the first scientific gathering of the new society. While no minutes exist, a mimeographed sheet shows the program, and is included in the appendix with several other early day programs. It consisted of "wet" operating clinics at the Jefferson Davis Hospital followed by Ward Rounds and papers by the residents to end the morning session.
After luncheon at the Warwick Hotel, an address by an outstanding urologist from out of state, Dr. McCrea of Philadelphia, was given, and followed by a wide-ranging Pyelogram Clinic presided over by Dr. Weems Turner, the senior urologist of Houston. This Pyelogram Clinic, consisting of problem and fascinating cases presented by the members, was to become a hallmark of the Texas Urological Society. All in attendance -- perhaps a couple of dozen -- participated liberally.
A cocktail reception at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Turner attended by the urologists with their ladies and a dinner at the College Inn concluded what all acclaimed was a first-class scientific and social convocation. Indeed, this did much to tie the specialty together and set the pattern for future assemblies, namely: an operative session and papers by the local people; followed by a speaker from outside the society; the Pyelogram Clinic, where freewheeling general participation was featured; and a reception and dinner with the spouses to round out the occasion.
While little in the way of records, attendance, etc., were kept until 1980, my personal files contain a number of programs which on review revealed that the society has met in the following locations:
In many of these cities, the organization has met on more than one occasion. Initially the meetings rotated between the larger centers only, but as more and more of our well-trained members have located in areas other than these, some of our best meetings have been held in their hometowns or nearby resorts. In any case, flexibility in the program was the rule and we have left it up to the host and the secretary to develop the program. This has resulted in a great deal of well-deserved recognition which otherwise would not have been forthcoming. The social events have contributed to the informal camaraderie which has never been lost.
In time, when the success of the original Texas organization was noted by the adjoining states of Oklahoma and Louisiana, they, too, formed comparable societies and several delightful combined meetings have resulted.
Among the many distinguished guest speakers we have had over the years, some stand out. Urologists well-known on the national scene have been:
and many others of similar character.
Non-urologists with overlapping interests have been Drs. Tinsley Harrison, Carl Moyer, Tom Shires, C. M. Pomerat, Warren Nelson, Charlie Pak, and numerous additional authorities who have served as guest speakers in their respective fields.
Throughout the 62 years of its existence, informality and independence had prevailed, yet with the growth of the number of practicing urologists within the state -- at least 450 -- and with the increasing complexities of practice due to governmental regulations and agencies, the liability crisis, and the new requirements of continuing education and certification, it was desirable to have a more tightly structured organization. Thus in 1980, the society adopted a definite Constitution and Bylaws in black and white, and a formal Roster of Membership. In addition, a Section of Urology under the auspices of the Texas Medical Association has been formed, with many of its officers and those of the Texas Urological Society overlapping.
While some nostalgia remains for the free and easy days of the past, unquestionably the changes have been for the better and bespeak a continuing important role for the Texas Urological Society in its new dress.
Where available, the programs from 1946 to the present are to be found in the binder which is presented to the society.
Except from Winter/Spring 1997 issue of The Texas Urologist.
The Texas Urological Society has a long and glorious history. Unfortunately, we know too little about it. Dr. Harry Spence wrote up a brief history. We think he also presented his collection of TUS memorabilia to the Society at our 1988 Annual Meeting in Beaumont. Our efforts to locate those materials have been unsuccessful so far. We are now turning to the membership for help. A good place to start would be to develop a list of past presidents and meeting locations. Here is what we have, so members are invited to help us fill in the previous years.
| George Vassar
| San Antonio
| David Wilhelm, MD
| M. Pat Collini, MD
|| Paolo Champion, MD
|| Daniel Voglewede, MD
|| Erin T. Bird, MD
|| Jeffrey N. Kocurek, MD
|| Arthur S. Centeno, MD
|| Carl L. Britton, MD
|| Joseph W. Basler, MD
|| William A. Elfarr, MD
|| Michael K. Floyd, MD
|| Herbert L. Watkins, MD
| Juan A Reyna, MD
|| Pat F. Fulgham, MD
|| Steven A. Johnson, MD
|| Jonathan Vordermark, MD
|| Gary W. Smith, MD
|| Thomas P. Ball Jr., MD
|| Aristides A. Trifilio, MD
|| T. Harrop Miller, MD
|| William L. Sheehan, MD
|| Roberto L. Olivares, MD
|| John J. De Leon, MD
|J. Denton Harris, IV, MD
| Stanton P. Champion, MD
| Donald L. McKay, MD
| Mauro P. Gangai, MD
| Randolph C. Zuber, MD
| Steven B. Roberts, MD
| Willis H. Carter, MD
|| Jan N. Ogletree, MD
|| James McCutcheon, MD
|| Michael Warren, MD
|| Carlos H. Mata, MD
|| Donald J. Logan, MD
|| John P. Schneider, MD
We know of several members who have served prior to this as president and several meeting locations, but there are huge gaps. All members are implored to help fill in as many gaps as possible by contacting the TUS office with this information.
Texas Urological Society
401 W. 15th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 370-1513
Fax: (512) 370-1635
E-mail: Shari Noonan
Many of you undoubtedly have old meeting announcements, programs, or perhaps even photographs filed away. If you do and would be willing to part with them, you are welcome to ship them to the TUS Administrative office. Or, if you're not willing to part with them, please photocopy them for us. We would like to gather enough material so that a history of our first 60 years could be prepared.