Pioneering UCI Health kidney surgeon honored for outstanding contributions in urology

Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, UCI School of Medicine dean emeritus, awarded the Keyes Medal

May 04, 2023
UCI Health urologist Dr. Ralph V. Clayman (left) holding the Keyes Medal, the highest honor for outstanding contributions to advance urology, with Dr. XXX, president of AAGUS.
Dr. Ralph V. Clayman (left) receiving
the Keyes Medal from AAGUS
President Dr. William Catalona, a
longtime friend and mentor. (Credit:
Courtesy of AAGUS)

Renowned UCI Health urologist Ralph V. Clayman, MD, was awarded the Keyes Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons (AAGUS), for his “outstanding contributions” to the field of urology.

Clayman, dean emeritus of the UCI School of Medicine and founding chair of its Department of Urology, has pioneered many minimally invasive surgical techniques that have revolutionized care for diseases of the kidney and urinary tract.

In 1990, he performed the world's first laparoscopic nephrectomy, removing a tumor-bearing kidney through a small incision. He went on to perfect the use of cryotherapy to treat renal cancer. He has invented more than two dozen devices for performing minimally invasive surgery and has published more than 450 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He continues to develop novel technologies to improve treatment for kidney stones and other kidney diseases.

Clayman joined the UCI School of Medicine in 2002 as chair and professor of the newly formed Department of Urology. During his seven years as chair, the UCI Health Center for Urological Care was ranked among the top 20 urology programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

In 2009, he became the dean of the UCI School of Medicine. After completing a five-year term, he chose to return to the Department of Urology as a distinguished professor and endowed chair in endourology, specializing in kidney stones and upper urinary tract obstructions. He remains immersed in his clinical and research work in kidney stones and ureteral and renal obstruction, while also working closely with urology residents, endourology fellows and students.

The Keyes Medal, named after the founder of AAGUS, Edward L. Keyes, MD, is presented to an individual for their “outstanding contributions in the advancement of urology.” It is recognized as the greatest individual citation in the specialty and has been awarded sparingly over the past 90 years.

Clayman received the award at a March 17 ceremony held in Amelia Island, Fla., from longtime mentor and friend Dr. William Catalona, professor of urology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and current president of the AAGUS.

"He was the chair of urology at Washington University and gave me my first job. I stayed there for 17 years before coming to UCI Health," says Clayman. "Receiving the award from him made it even more special."

AAGUS is an association of 75 elected active members chosen by U.S. and Canadian academic urologists dedicated to the study of diseases of the genitourinary system.

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