Peter R. Carroll, MD, MPH, who has led the Department of Urology for the past 23 years, announced earlier that he intended to step down from the chair’s position by the end of 2019. A national search has been underway for his successor. Dr. Carroll will remain a full-time faculty member and continue his busy urogenital surgical practice. He will also work on longer-term university-wide projects focusing on developing innovative strategies that can also have a near- term impact on advancing health care including such areas as cell therapy, genomic profiling, novel imaging and reducing health disparities.
“It has been my profound privilege, honor and pleasure to lead this department and work with a first-class team,” said Carroll. “I took on this job at a relatively early stage of my career, and I have always wanted to offer that same opportunity to a successor. You don’t keep a job just because you do it well. I want to thank those who had confidence in a young, untested candidate to lead the department, especially the Dean at the time, Dr. Haile Debas. I am deeply grateful for their confidence.”
Dr. Carroll accepted the role of department chair in 1996, when he was still a junior faculty member. At that time, it was one of many UCSF departments struggling financially in a changing insurance reimbursement climate. The first thing he did was to take a salary reduction and refused the salary increase that comes with the chair position. He and his faculty turned things around quickly.
He credits a talented and committed faculty with helping to grow the department in all domains – clinical care, research and training the future leaders in the field. “The faculty were highly committed,” says Carroll. “They were open to doing things differently.”
Indeed, the department’s clinical practice grew rapidly over the years. Today the department of Urology enjoys a powerhouse reputation, ranking third nationally in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals ranking of urology programs. Science and research programs also grew exponentially during his tenure reaching number one in NIH funding for biomedical research in urology. In addition to these rankings, he takes pride in the department’s “small but mighty reputation within the University.” None of this would have happened without superb faculty and fellow Chairs, campus, school and medical center leadership and the support of many advocates who gave Dr. Carroll the guidance and resources necessary to achieve the status the Department enjoys now.
Another goal of his was to increase the program’s diversity. Women now comprise one third of the faculty and more than half the residents. A perusal of former and current faculty, fellows and residents under his leadership show a better reflection of American demographics.
Dr. Carroll looks forward to his new role. It’s been a 24/7 job, and stepping down will give other aspects of his life more breathing room. Some will be new, like spending more time with his grandchildren, and skipping the Monday night Chairs’ Meeting (which he will miss) in favor of a Warriors game! Other aspects will continue—as a dedicated runner and cyclist he’ll still wake at 4 AM several days a week to run 4-5 miles in San Francisco’s Presidio with a headlamp and complete regular 9-mile runs to or from work.
“I had to practice to become chair and now I have to practice not being chair,” says Dr. Carroll, “I’ve had passion for what I do, and I’ve been blessed with great energy, health and enthusiasm. Now it’s time for someone else to lead this talented team.”
When asked if he has any advice for the incoming chair, Carroll answered, “You have to be the one to turn out the lights at night and turn them on again in the morning. Pay attention to every important detail, don’t be distracted by the unimportant ones. Be responsible for anything that does not go well and credit the entire team when they do go well. You are the driver of the bus. The door is wide open, all are welcome and there are plenty of seats. Just be sure those who board the bus know the destination. If they have another destintion in mind; help them find another bus. You set the example. Lead from the front, not the back. Don’t expect to be thanked for any of this, but you’ll set the right example. Lastly, honor your family. They give you the energy and support you need to get the job done well!”