The last several years have brought us a paradigm shift in healthcare for children, with the emergence of telehealth, the electronic portal, and rising need for subspecialty services.  Meeting new demands while remaining nimble in our profession has presented numerous challenges, but our specialty’s steadfast commitment to providing the best care for children endures.  Witnessing the passion with which our colleagues heal our patients leaves me energized and humbled to be part of the “small but mighty” medical community that is the AAP Section on Urology.  

This year is about building bridges across our healthcare communities within the AAP and working collaboratively to help our patients.  In the wake of the pandemic, pediatric specialists have in many ways siloed themselves, but we must remember the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Only by working together with pediatricians, our pediatric subspecialty colleagues, advanced practice providers, and other surgical subspecialties can we fulfill our mission of healing children.

Highlights of 2023 include our Section rejoining the programming at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition in Washington, DC this past October.  We are indebted to Course Directors Gil Rushton and Israel Franco for organizing sessions on urinary incontinence and urodynamics as well as laparoscopic/robotic surgery.  Master Class Symposium Sessions were held in collaboration with other AAP Sections, including the session on VUR/UTI with the Section on Nephrology and GU Trauma with the Section on Surgery.   Standing room only from the start, our return to NCE was a triumph!  I look forward to seeing many more of you in Orlando this fall.  We are thrilled to grow our conference programming in 2024 led by Doug Clayton, with Christina Ching overseeing our participation in this year’s NCE and Dana Weiss organizing the Societies for Pediatric Urology Fall Congress.  Information on how to register for all educational activities will be forthcoming.

Our return to NCE and other successes have been brought to fruition by an incredible team of leaders.  I specifically want to thank Greg Dean for his many years of service as Secretary-Treasurer and whose passion and enthusiasm have revitalized our commitment to the AAP.  Greg is the veritable lynchpin of our organization, always working selflessly on behalf of the SOU.  I am very grateful Greg is not going too far as Chair-Elect this year.  I would like to welcome Tony Herndon to his new role as Secretary-Treasurer, bringing fresh perspective and energy to our team.  We have also been fortunate to have many new members join our Section leadership including the Executive Committee (Greg Dean and Tony Herndon), Membership Committee (Andy Kirsch and Valeska Halstead), Fellows Committee (Valeska Halstead and Brendan Frainey), Education Committee (Kathleen Kieran, Martin Kaefer, and Jaqueline Morin), and Coding/Billing Committee (David Kitchens and Paul  Zelkovic).  I specifically want to highlight the hard work undertaken by the Education Committee (Julie Cheng, Laura Cornwell, Christopher Jaeger, Martin Kaefer, Kathleen Kieran, and Leslie Peard), whose outstanding webinar series earned the 2023 AAP Outstanding Service in Education Award – congrats, team!  I stand on the shoulders of giants in my role as Chair, grateful to past leaders Chris Cooper, Earl Cheng, Andy Kirsch, Nick Cost, and John Pope for setting the stage and their continuing impact.  Last but certainly not least, I must thank our SOU manager Melissa Marx, who has been a tour de force over the course of her first year with us.  She has knowledgably and graciously steered us in new directions in our partnership with the AAP so that we can better serve children.

The AAP SOU awarded the 2023 Urology Medal to our dear friend and colleague Doug Canning, a true giant in our field whose untimely passing was a recent shock to our pediatric urology community.  As a clinician, surgeon, educator, administrator, mentor, family man, and friend, Dr. Canning was someone who gave of himself selflessly and genuinely with the goal of making the world a better place.  I was blessed to train with Doug and try to practice daily what he taught: “Start with the child and move out from there.”  Dr. Canning was bestowed the medal posthumously at the 2023 SPU Fall Congress, with his wife Annabelle and his two daughters Caroline and Maddy receiving the award on his behalf.  The NCE program last fall included a moving tribute to Doug as well.  We are fortunate that due to our sustained membership in the AAP, we can continue to honor those who have made last contributions to pediatric urology.

The mission of the AAP is to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.  Ultimately, that is what we have been called to do – to care for our young patients.  As members we can tap into the immeasurable wealth of resources the AAP offers to fulfill this mission, allowing us to aid children and their families through best practices in clinical care, policy, advocacy, education, and research.  Moreover, the AAP connects all of us in the pediatric community so we can work together and learn from each other.  

I ask that you continue to build our professional bonds among the broader pediatric community through your involvement in the Section.  Encourage your friends and colleagues to join and become involved!  Our strength is not only in our numbers but more so in diversity of ideas, background, training, career stage, and practice type.  Through the new Enterprise Model, your organization can save time and money by simplifying member dues payments, access scholarly pursuit activities, include NPs and PAs as National Affiliate members, and enhance your practice’s presence within your state AAP Chapter and among AAP leadership.  

I look forward to a new year filled with opportunities in education among fellow pediatric specialists, collaborating with colleagues in other fields to update policies, and advocating for priorities in pediatric healthcare.  I am honored and humbled to serve as your Chair this year, and I am confident we will navigate the path ahead with excitement, innovation, and a shared commitment to excellence.  Let this year be a testament to our collective dedication to healing children.
Wishing all a 2024 filled with growth and inspiration!


Kate H. Kraft, MD, MHPE, FACS, FAAP, Chairperson
C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan Health
Ann Arbor, MI

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American Academy of Pediatrics