Dr. Michael Risk appointed Chief of Urology at VA Hospital

Michael Risk, MD, PhD, has been named Chief of Urology at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. This appointment is effective January 1, 2024.

Originally from the Western suburbs of Chicago, Dr. Risk pursued his undergraduate, medical, and PhD studies at the University of Illinois. His doctoral work focused on female reproductive endocrinology in the rat model. Over time, Dr. Risk found that his research interests – specifically, control of steroid synthesis – and the clinical aspects of urologic oncology aligned well. Further, he says that his father’s prostate cancer diagnosis during Dr. Risk’s early years in medical school, coupled with exposure to a compassionate and skilled urological surgeon, likely played a role in his decision to pursue urology.

After completing residencies in general surgery and urology at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, Dr. Risk went on to do a fellowship in urologic oncology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. Following the completion of his fellowship, Dr. Risk was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus in 2011 and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health from 2012 to 2013. In 2019, he was promoted to Associate Professor and named Urology Chief at the Minnesota VA Hospital.

Dr. Risk joined the Department of Urology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health as an Associate Professor (CHS) in March 2023.

Clinically, Dr. Risk treats all urologic malignancies in adults, with a primary focus on prostate cancer. He performs a range of specialty surgeries, employing robotic and open techniques for cancers throughout the urinary tract.

On the research side, Dr. Risk has an upcoming clinical trial exploring seminal fluid biomarkers for predicting prostate cancer and is also working on a trial led by Dr. David Jarrard studying the utility of PSMA PET MRI in prostate cancer diagnosis.

Reflecting on his recent appointment, Dr. Risk expressed enthusiasm for the patient population and the collaborative environment, describing the patients at the VA as a “great group of men and women to work with; they are always appreciative of everything we do there.” And about the staff, he says that everyone is “very service-focused and the mission comes first. . . they are a fantastic group.”

Dr. Risk’s previous experience makes him exceedingly well-positioned to lead our VA service. Further, his passion for urology and commitment to research and education underscore his dedication to advancing the field and providing outstanding patient care.