Promoting Diversity and Empowering Black Urologists: The R. Frank Jones Urological Society - Linda L. McIntire

May 23, 2023

In this conversation, Sam Washington interviews Linda McIntire, a urologist at My Michigan Health and the President of the R Frank Jones Urological Society. R. Frank Jones is named after Richard Francis Jones, the first Black urologist certified by the American Board of Urology in 1936. The society represents the interests of Black urologists and aims to increase their numbers and support their professional growth. It also serves as a liaison with the community, advocating for the needs of Black patients in urological care. The society offers mentorship programs, research forums, and opportunities for medical students and residents to engage with the field of urology. They have a close relationship with the AUA and collaborate to promote opportunities for Black urologists and trainees. Additionally, R. Frank Jones focuses on community engagement, providing prostate cancer screenings in cities with marginalized populations. The future goals of R. Frank Jones include increasing the number of Black urologists, reducing healthcare barriers for Black patients in clinical trial enrollment, and promoting race concordant care for improved patient outcomes.


Linda L. McIntire, MD, Urologist, My Michigan Health

Samuel L Washington III, MD, MAS, Assistant Professor of Urology, Goldberg-Benioff Endowed Professorship in Cancer Biology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, Ca

Read the Full Video Transcript

Sam Washington: Hello everyone. I'm Sam Washington with UroToday I'm here with Dr. Linda McIntire today, a urologist at My Michigan Health and President of R. Frank Jones Urological Society. Thank you for coming.

Linda McIntire: Hi. Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Sam Washington: I wanted to ask you a few questions about R. Frank Jones, what it is about, what are we doing moving forward?

Linda McIntire: Okay, so R. Frank Jones first is named after Richard Francis Jones, who was the first Black urologist that was certified by the American Board of Urology in 1936. And he also started a urology residency program at Friedman's Hospital in Washington DC, which is now Howard University in 1947. We are named after a great urologist and pioneer. Also, he was a civil rights worker during his time. And the R. Frank Jones Urological Society represents the interest of Black urologists across the country. Our goal is to increase the number of urologists and support Black urologists so that they may thrive professionally. Our other goal also is to be a liaison with the community and express the needs of Black patients and whatever focus we need to have for their urological care.

Sam Washington: Very exciting. R. Frank Jones has been around for...

Linda McIntire:
Since 1965. Yes, the society has been around since 1965. We've had some very distinguished leaders of R. Frank Jones. Right now, the number of urologists in the country who identify as Black is about 2.2%, which we claim in R. Frank Jones about 340 members. Which include medical students and residents because we do want to support our trainees as they go through the process of becoming a urologist.

Sam Washington: And that's an interesting area. We always talk about the pipeline and us needing more representation within urology. Where do you think R. Frank Jones fits into that process and that discussion?

Linda McIntire:
Right. Having a large repository of African American urologists or Black urologists, we have mentors. One of the things that we started in 2019 was a mentorship reception at both the AUA and the National Medical Association Conference, the NMA, because we're the urology section of the NMA. And in the mentorship reception, which is open and free for all medical students and residents desiring to become a urologist, is an opportunity for them to get to meet us and us to get to meet them and to establish mentorship relationships. In addition, we have the William Baker Resident Research Forum, which is every year at the National Medical Association where Black residents and medical students get to present their research and compete for monetary prizes. We really want to engage medical students and residents in their process of becoming a urologist because even if they're in a very supportive urology program, having an affinity group support you and encourage you goes a long way.

Being a part of R. Frank Jones for many residents or practicing urologists, is almost a rite of passage because I get introduced to R. Frank Jones. They're like, "Wow, I didn't know all these Black urologists exist." Well, it seems like a lot when there's 50 or 60 of us in one room, but you get to meet people and establish those mentorship relationships. And I personally believe in layered mentorship or a board of mentors, so you need more than one mentor to get through this process. And having a mentor in R. Frank Jones we think is just as necessary

Sam Washington: For trainees who are interested in getting involved with R. Frank Jones, what opportunities would you say are exciting or upcoming for them?

Linda McIntire:Well, we have a very close relationship with the AUA, being a society of the AUA. And the AUA has been very supportive in looking for talented Black urologists and trainees for different programs that they sponsor and offer. And they're always asking us, "Do you have someone who's interested in this? Do you have someone who's interested in this?" We can act as a liaison to promote our Black residents and trainees through opportunities that are provided by the AUA and through the NMA. I think that that's important to be a part of that or to be a part of our organization, so when opportunities come up, that you are in the know and you can capitalize on that.

Sam Washington: Those are exciting. And I know as junior faculty, the mentorship, and sponsorship are key to retaining us within urology. Because this is such a community, we often talk about our experience within urology, but are there opportunities for us to interact, engage with communities outside of our urologic bubble?

Linda McIntire:
Yes, and I think that when we talk about diversity, we have to remember the community. And I think as we have our national conferences, both the AUA and the National Medical Association, we go to cities where there are large groups of marginalized patients. And it's a great opportunity for us to provide prostate cancer screening in each city that we visit. I think that we can mobilize the resources through the AUA with R. Frank Jones, with ConDUC, which is a group of Black researchers, enrolling patients into clinical trials, as well as Urology Care Foundation. So that as we travel from city to city to city yearly, having a conference, we can leave a gift in each city by providing the community with prostate cancer screening for marginalized groups. In order to help eliminate healthcare barriers that exist for these groups and prostate cancer screening and prostate cancer, as you know, is one of them.

Sam Washington: It's amazing how R. Frank Jones has been able to leverage the history and partnerships that it has in so many different domains. What are you excited about for the future of R. Frank Jones and its impact in urology?

Linda McIntire:
Wow. For the future, I would love for us to prepare to engage and expose more Black students to urology and actually change the needle and have more Black urologists in the country. That is the main goal for the future because race concordant care improves patient care, patient outcomes, compliance, and it is very important that we make more Black urologists. And that's been my goal, is to increase the number of Black urologists in the country. If I were to focus on one thing, it would be for us to have an AUA census and actually see that number increase or change as far as the number of urologists that identify as Black. That would be the main thing.

The second main thing, because they're both just as important, is to decrease healthcare barriers for Black patients as far as clinical trial enrollment. It would be awesome with Black men suffering from prostate cancer that they were offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials and that those clinical trials would be available to them and not be cost-prohibitive or even travel prohibitive. That centers existed in areas where Black men could get advanced care for prostate cancer, cutting edge care. And that works well for urology as well, because how can we say that a clinical trial is valid if we don't have a diversified patient population participating?

Sam Washington: 
It's exciting that R. Frank Jones can leverage so many different aspects and all the efforts in the community to help so many others, the magnitude greater than those within, so it's exciting.

Linda McIntire:
Thank you.

Sam Washington: Thank you again for coming.

Linda McIntire:
Oh, thank you. I appreciate it. It's good to be here.

Sam Washington: Perfect.