AUA Summit - AUA Historian-Elect: John L Phillips MD, FACS

AUA Historian-Elect: John L Phillips MD, FACS

Dr. Phillips was raised in Tarrytown, NY amongst the hamlets and vales made famous in the stories of Washington Irving. He graduated from Sleepy Hollow High School and then Wesleyan University with BAs in biology and classics. He received a Howard Hughes research grant while a medical student at Yale University researching cytokine biology in bone remodeling before his urologic training at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Translational research still beckoned, however, and he completed a two-year fellowship, at the dawn of genomics and robotic surgery, at the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health where he was also Program Director for the urology residency at National Naval Medical Center. He returned to his roots in New York thereafter and established a practice in robotics, urologic oncology, and clinical trials.

Dr. Phillips was in the 2008-2009 Leadership Program of the AUA and served on the Executive Committee of the New York Section of the AUA and of the Valentine Committee of the New York Academy of Medicine. With a primary focus on residency training, he has served as Program Director at Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical College since 2008 and as the department’s Executive Vice Chair since 2022.

Dr. Phillips’ interest in history may have stemmed from the lore of Washington Irving promulgated through his grammar school curriculum but which parlayed easily into a great interest in medical history. He was president of the Nathan Smith Society while at Yale Medical School, a voluntary organization dedicated to the history of New Haven and Connecticut’s innovative thinkers in health care since colonial times. Yale was the site of copious high altitude research during World War II led by John P Fulton which inspired Dr. Phillips to complete a book, The Bends, on the history of compressed air and its diseases, published by Yale University Press in 1998. The success of the AUA History Forum but the absence of a publishing venue for award-winning papers led to his creation, with Dr. Akhil Saji of USC, of the International Journal of Urologic History (, entering its 3rd year in 2023.

He lives in Sleepy Hollow, NY, with his wife, Katherine, having raised 3 children there, and now helping with their 1st grandchild, Sophia, the 6th generation inhabitant of those leafy climes.