State of the Department: Compassionate care, groundbreaking research and diversity exemplify University Hospitals mission

UH Innovations in Urology - Winter 2019

Lee Ponsky, MD Lee Ponsky, MD

To Heal. To Teach. To Discover. From laboratory bench to patient bedside, the University Hospitals mission is fulfilled through ongoing innovation and commitment to excellence. At the University Hospitals Urology Institute, that legacy continues through exciting advancements in clinical care, translational research and mentoring the next generation of world class physicians. With a new year underway, here are some recent highlights.


In November, Donald Bodner, MD, was honored at the University Hospitals Inaugural Distinguished Physician Ceremony. Since 1984, Dr. Bodner has practiced urology at UH, earning international recognition for his expertise and academic contributions to his field. In addition to his work in general urology and endourology, Dr. Bodner has cared for patients with spinal cord injury at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, reducing the risk of complications and improving outcomes for veterans coping with neurogenic bladder dysfunction. 

“Don is a beacon in our department and a true doctor’s doctor,” says Lee Ponsky, MD, Interim Chair of the Department of Urology at UH Cleveland Medical Center, Leo and Charlotte Goldberg Chair of Advanced Surgical therapies; Master Clinician of Urologic Oncology, Professor of Urology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “The consummate gentleman, he has devoted his career to taking excellent care of his patients and his community.”

Irina Jaeger, MD, was honored as a UroLift® Center of Excellence Physician by Neotract Inc., for her compassionate treatment of men with urinary tract symptoms and extensive experience with UroLift®. This minimally invasive transurethral outpatient procedure manages benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in appropriately-selected men. By relieving prostate obstruction to open the urethra, the UroLift® System offers quick recovery and improved quality of life without major surgery or the side effects of long-term medication use.

“Dr. Jaeger is distinguished as the only physician in Northeast Ohio and the first associated with an academic medical center to receive this designation,” Dr. Ponsky says. “This recognition speaks to her quality outcomes and high volume of patients successfully treated with this innovative technique.” 


Joseph Henderson, MD, joined the UH Urology Institute last year and is seeing patients at UH Bedford and UH Richmond Medical Centers, with a focus on female urology and voiding dysfunction, pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Henderson completed a residency in gynecology and a combined gynecology-urology fellowship in female pelvic surgery, fostering a multidisciplinary approach for the best methods to treat women with incontinence and pelvic prolapse.

“Dr. Henderson is an up-and-coming leader who goes above and beyond to take care of his patients,” Dr. Ponsky says. “We saw an opportunity under our institute model to add his unique perspective in patient care and research to our department.”


Physicians within the UH Urology Institute are collaborating with researchers to develop a core team focused on scientific investigation and academic productivity. Adonis Hijaz, MD, Director, Female Pelvic Surgery, UH Urology Institute, and Professor and Vice Chair of Academics and Research for Department of Urology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, is gathering a multidisciplinary team to advance urologic precision medicine, explore stem cell applications and identify novel opportunities for research partnership. He also recently submitted a full PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) grant and is laying the groundwork to enable physicians to conduct meaningful research while meeting the myriad demands of patient care. 

“In today’s age of clinical productivity, developing a parallel research path will ensure that our busy doctors can continue to make breakthrough discoveries in partnership with grant writers, statisticians, epidemiologists and scientists across the spectrum,” Dr. Ponsky says.


Urology residents were extremely productive academically over the past year, contributing to more than 54 publications and abstracts submitted to national meetings. Additionally, when the new residents start in July, women will make up fifty percent of the department’s 18 resident physicians. 

“UH Urology Institute has one of the most diverse residency programs in the county,” Dr. Ponsky says. “We’re very proud of the talent, diversity and synergy our residents contribute to our department.” 

To refer a patient to the UH Urology Institute call (216) 844-3009 or contact Dr. Ponsky at

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