Continence advocacy group cites Zimmern

By Robin Russell

Helping female incontinence patients achieve a better quality of life has motivated Dr. Philippe Zimmern, Professor of Urology, to specialize in research and clinical care related to bladder issues.

Philippe Zimmern, MD

“It’s like a social cancer,” he said. “Incontinence is always hidden, terribly embarrassing, and extremely frustrating because it is often unpredictable and uncontrollable. It affects all aspects of life, from going out or traveling, to exercising and even sexual function.”

Dr. Zimmern has been recognized for his contributions in research, education, and clinical practice as the recipient of the Rodney Appell Continence Care Champion Award from the National Association for Continence (NAFC), the world’s largest educational and advocacy group on pelvic floor disorders. The award was presented during the Society for Urodynamics and Female Urology’s (SUFU) winter meeting in New Orleans.

Last year’s recipient was Dr. Zimmern’s patient coordinator, Tamara Dickinson, a senior research nurse in continence and voiding dysfunction at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The 2008 recipient was Shannon Atnip, a nurse practitioner and urogynecology continence nurse educator in female pelvic medicine at Parkland Health & Hospital System.

Some 200 million people worldwide are affected by urinary and fecal incontinence, and patients often are embarrassed to talk about it.

For the last decade, UT Southwestern’s Bladder and Incontinence Treatment Center, headed by Dr. Zimmern, has participated in the National Institutes of Health’s Urinary Incontinence Treatment Network to produce studies on the surgical management of female urinary incontinence. Dr. Zimmern also has championed vaginal surgery for incontinence and pelvic prolapse, focusing on non-mesh repairs using native tissues.

“Dr. Zimmern embodies what a caring physician should be: knowledgeable, caring, and always available,” said Dr. Claus Roehrborn, Chairman of Urology. “Over the years he has served on the faculty at UT Southwestern, he has changed the lives of countless women in Dallas-Fort Worth and the surrounding areas for the better. He is most deserving of this award.”

Dr. Zimmern first became intrigued with the complexity of bladder mechanics during his urology residency in France, and he completed a one-year fellowship at UCLA under Dr. Shlomo Raz.

He joined the faculty of UT Southwestern in 1995, where he heads the female urology fellowship program, endowed by the Felecia Cain Foundation and fully accredited by the American Board of Urology and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Zimmern has authored more than 160 investigative reports on continence care and has held many leadership roles, including president of SUFU. He is currently a member of 15 other medical societies and associations.

Dr. Zimmern holds the Jane and John Justin Distinguished Chair in Urology, in Honor of Claus G. Roehrborn, M.D.

Dr. Roehrborn holds the E.E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Distinguished Chair in Urology, and the S.T. Harris Family Chair in Medical Science, in Honor of John D. McConnell, M.D.