News and Highlights
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
We celebrate and pay tribute to this very diverse group of people, each with their own unique and rich history that has been woven into the tapestry of this country.
For years, however, Asian Americans have regularly been scapegoated during periods of national duress. After the attack on Pearl Harbor 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps, 64% of them U.S. citizens. After the Vietnam War, refugees from Southeast Asia faced routine hate and discrimination, even attacks by the Ku Klux Klan. During a recession in 1982 that was partly blamed on the rise of the Japanese auto industry, Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, was beaten to death by two Detroit auto workers who thought he was japanese. Unfortunately we saw similar fears manifested in acts of violence recently when Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders were blamed for the Pandemic.
As Spring approaches and thousands of cherry trees reach full bloom in a sea of pink across the country, we are reminded of this gift given to the U.S. by Japan to commemorate their friendship. However, even these innocent trees, which also symbolize life, death, and renewal for the Japanese diaspora, in times of fear and prejudice, have been targets of violence against Japanese Americans or Asians at large.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have played a vital role in the shaping of our country. Their contributions have often gone unrecognized, including the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s, largely built by Chinese migrants who worked in conditions tantamount to slavery. Who can forget the multiple wars Asians of many diverse backgrounds fought in for this country. Even Asian American women played a critical part in America’s war efforts, serving in roles ranging from pilots and translators to factory workers and guerilla fighters.
In the 1940s and 50s, Chinese-born physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, PhD improved existing technology to the detection of radiation and the enrichment of uranium in large quantities. Her research was paramount to the Manhattan Project. She then was able to prove the phenomenon of Beta decay, theorized by two other Asian American physicists, Tsung Dao Lee, PhD and Chen ning yang PhD, but never shared in the recognition when they won the 1957 Nobel Prize.
In 1965, Filipino born Larry Itliong, a labor worker turned union leader organized a walkout of 1500 grape pickers demanding higher wages and improving working conditions. His activism led to the formation of the United Farm Workers which contributed to a new era of Social Justice.
Speaking of Social justice, in 2013, Harvard University student Amanda Nguyen, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, realizing that there was no national legislation in existence establishing consistent rules, rights and protections for individuals who have experienced sexual violence, she wrote it herself. The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act of 2016 provides survivors the right to a rape kit procedure at no cost and requires that they be preserved for 20 years. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.
In 2014, Filipino American pediatric immunologist Katherine Luzuriaga’s research led to the first functional cure for HIV in children.
These are but a few of many contributions. You can even thank Jawed Karim, a Bangladeshi-German American and Taiwanese American Steven Chen, as well as Pennsylvania native Chad Hurley for all the funny cat videos when they created YouTube, a platform that captures the attention of billions of people every day.
It is important to acknowledge the injustices committed by the U.S. and its people across history towards Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in hopes that learning about it will prevent it from happening again. On that note I leave you with this Haiku by Cynthia Calhoun:
In a World so Dark,
I resolve to be a Light
Changing it with Love.
The Urology DEI Team
The Harvard Gazette 3/24/2021
Meet Our Team
Nissrine Nakib, MD is the Director of Pelvic Floor Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Nakib has a busy clinical practice that entails caring for patients with pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, pelvic pain, recurrent urinary tract infections, as well as those with spinal cord injuries and neurogenic bladders. As lead of the Urology Department’s Quality Control she works hard to establish safety and quality measures in order to ensure patients get the best possible care. Additionally, she conducts clinical and translational research with focus on sacral nerve modulation and other urinary disorder treatments. Education is an integral part of her role at the University and she enjoys teaching residents and medical students about Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstruction through mentoring, didactic sessions, and anatomical training labs. Furthermore, she strives to increase public awareness and educate her patients on urological issues in women. Gender and other equity issues are an important topic to Dr. Nakib and she values her work as the Chair of The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the Urology Department. She is also a member of the American Urological Association North Central Section Committee for Women. Last year she joined The Strategic Communication and Collaboration Action Committee in The Center for Women in Medicine and Science. Dr. Nakib was voted as the Chair of this committee and looks forward to accomplishing great things in her new role. Full Bio
Dr. Christopher Warlick is the Department Head for the Department of Urology and is an Associate Professor who treats several urologic cancers, with an emphasis on prostate cancer. Dr. Warlick has a busy prostate cancer practice and is a nationally recognized leader on Active Surveillance for low risk prostate cancer, while performing robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomies for men requiring definitive therapy. Dr. Warlick has ongoing research focusing on the use of MR imaging in prostate cancer, the development of novel tests to help determine early signs of disease progression, and on programs to increase the use of shared decision making around PSA screening and prostate cancer treatment decision making. Full Bio
Dr. Kyle Anderson is interested in a variety of urologic conditions, including laparoscopic treatment of abnormalities including kidney cancer, ureteral pelvic junction obstruction, prostate cancer, adrenal abnormalities. He also specializes in minimally invasive thermotherapy for kidney cancer and kidney stone disease. When he’s not in clinic, Anderson is an associate professor of urologic surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. His research focuses on the use of thermotherapy (cryotherapy and radiofrequency ablation) for the treatment of kidney cancer. Full Bio
Ryan Haggart is a first year urology resident at the University of Minnesota. He attended the University of Chicago for undergraduate school where he was involved in multiple non-profit organizations including ArtShould, Young Chicago Authors, and Health Leads where he helped create and manage arts and health programming targeted to the Southside of Chicago. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for medical school where he was vice-president of MEDiC, the only free healthcare clinics program in Madison. He is passionate about finding solutions to healthcare disparities. He has been part of research efforts on a health coaching model to address healthcare disparities in hypertension outcomes, and he is currently involved with a randomized controlled trial developing methods for the sexual rehabilitation of sexual minorities following prostate cancer treatment.
Mary Jo Hadler is the Administrative Director for the Department of Urology. She has been a leader, mentor, and coach for female athletes for over 17 years. Additionally she is a member of the YWCA - "the YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities."