IVUmed is proud to feature Susan Kalota, MD on our blog today. Dr. Kalota was the first woman to become a Board certified urologist in Arizona. Beyond being one of IVUmed’s most dedicated volunteers, Dr. Kalota currently serves as the organization’s Board Treasurer. She has volunteered with IVUmed for more than a decade and always prioritizes IVUmed’s Teach One, Reach Many philosophy.

“As far back as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed volunteering and any opportunity to travel is right up my alley,” she said. “In approximately 2005 I went [to Nigeria] and have been going yearly ever since.”

IVUmed initially focused on pediatric urology and this trip marked IVUmed’s first female urology workshop. “When we started, we were working in a vesico-vaginal fistula clinic trying to help the ladies who were still incontinent after their fistulas were treated,” Dr. Kalota said. “We’ve continued to try and work in that vein, but now we’re working more along the lines of IVUmed’s mission statement which is to teach, rather than to just operate.”

Since this workshop, IVUmed has not only increased the number of female urology trips offered yearly and the countries served, IVUmed has also expanded and diversified the topics these workshops address. Dr. Kalota recently led a workshop in Dakar. “This last workshop in Senegal, to me, was a perfect workshop.” She added that they performed “standard female incontinence and pelvic floor surgery, incontinence surgeries, cystocele repairs, rectocele repairs, and total vaginal prolapse repairs.”

Teaching remains at the forefront of IVUmed’s mission. “We let the residents and local staff do more of the surgeries and work on their skills, rather than just having them watch us operate,” she said. “I really left there feeling that what I did could make a difference in the long-run and that what I did could be sustainable… It was very exciting to be able to teach someone something that I felt I was competent at.”

Dr. Kalota has seen and fostered IVUmed’s growth over the years. “We’ve gone from a few trips a year to 25 plus trips a year,” she said. “The impact is growing; the specialties are growing. I’m thrilled with what we’ve been able to do.”

Always humble, Dr. Kalota recognizes the benefit she derives from her service with IVUmed. “As much as I’d like to say that I volunteer because of what I can do for others; I really volunteer for what they do for me,” she said. “They make me feel like I’m useful and I’m giving back.”

We are incredibly grateful for Dr. Kalota’s dedication to teaching, her generosity, and her leadership in our organization. Volunteers like Dr. Kalota make it possible for IVUmed to continue expanding our programs and increasing our impact.