Back to Timeline

The Montie Era (1997–2007)

Urology Emerges as Independent Entity
The creation of the U-M Department of Urology

James E. Montie, MD

  • Interim Head, Section of Urology (1997-1998)
  • Head, Section of Urology (1998-2001)
  • Founding Chair, Department of Urology (2001-2007)

In 1997, James Montie, MD, took over as interim head of the Section of Urology, and, in 2001, became inaugural chair of the new Department of Urology when the sections of urology, neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery emerged from the Department of Surgery as independent entities. Montie was known for his outstanding leadership in the field of urologic oncology, and his lifelong commitment to the advancement of urological education.

In 2007, Montie established the Division of Health Services Research in the U-M Department of Urology, which has grown to be the largest urologic health services research group in the world. He is a founding co-director of the Michigan Urologic Surgery Improvement Collaborative, which has 240 participating urologists in the State of Michigan contributing prospective data on quality improvement interventions for prostate cancer care. Montie also served as co-principal investigator in the U-M Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in prostate cancer from 2000-2012. 

Dr. Montie will always be my moral compass as a physician and scientist. Whenever I’m not sure what to do, I always ask myself, ‘What would Jim Montie do in this situation?’ I think that says something about his principles as a leader.

David Miller, MD

Active in a number of national and international organizations, he was a founding member and past president of the Society of Urologic Oncology, a member of the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons and the Clinical Society of Genitourinary Surgeons. Montie became the Valassis Professor of Urologic Oncology in 1996 after a generous gift from George and Sandy Valassis. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Urological Association in 2016.

Montie received his MD degree in 1971 from U-M. He completed his urologic surgical residency at the Cleveland Clinic in 1976 and, after two years in the Air Force, went to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1978 to study urologic oncology. After posts at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Florida, and Wayne State University in Detroit, he joined U-M as professor of surgery in 1995.

In 2007, after nearly 10 years of service, Montie stepped down as chair to continue his research on the quality of care for patients with urologic cancer at U-M. He retired in May 2015 as emeritus professor of urology and has held an active appointment since.

When Jim Montie became chair he had a culture change to take on. Culture of today came with Jim Montie. Transparency, integrity, honesty, and put the patient first. Develop more clinical innovation and growth. He recruited me back out of fellowship.

Cheryl Lee, MD

The most important thing I took with me from my training was good judgment. Our faculty taught us how to make decisions that were in the best interest of our patients, and which were grounded in integrity and compassion. Gary Faerber, Jim Montie and Stu Wolf were outstanding mentors. It was clear that our department recruited aspiring urologists who not only had brains and skill, but also collegiality and true concern for people.

Brian Siefman, MD

Also happening around the world in 1998

  • Missile attacks were launched by the United States against Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in retaliation for bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • Google Inc. was founded by Stanford University PhD candidates Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
  • Senator John Glenn traveled into space on space shuttle Discovery, making him the oldest (age 77) astronaut.
  • Exxon bought Mobil in a $73.7 billion deal, creating Exxon-Mobil, the world’s largest corporation.
  • James Thomson, PhD, and John Gearhart, MD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, isolated and grew human embryonic stem cells.
  • Less invasive procedures continued to replace open surgery for many urological conditions.

Also happening at Michigan Medicine

  • 1998: Michigan Medicine moved its cancer and geriatrics clinical and research programs into the $88M Cancer Center and Geriatrics Building, and established the Center for Gene Therapy.
  • 1999: The U-M Department of Emergency Medicine is created.
  • 2003: The U-M Medical School implements a new curriculum that integrates biomedical, clinical and psychosocial sciences with clinical skills and professionalism.
  • 2004: The U-M Health System announces its largest gift—$44 million from Bill and Dee Brehm for the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research in the new tower at the Kellogg Eye Center.
  • 2006: The East Ann Arbor Ambulatory Surgery and Medical Procedures Center, Rachel Upjohn Building (including the U-M Depression Center) and Biomedical Science Research Building open.