By any criteria, Dr. Caldamone's academic accomplishments and contributions to Urology are impressive. And they have not gone unrecognized as he received the AUA's 2017 “Distinguished Contribution Award”. Yet, since Harry Spence received the first AAP medal in Pediatric Urology in 1984, there have been only 36 recipients (Dr. Bloom being the most recent). And so I would like to help our younger members understand how Dr. Caldamone earned this extraordinary distinction. In truth, Tony has been an ambassador par excellence for Pediatric Urology nationally and internationally for four decades. There is no colleague more deserving of the AAP medal in Pediatric Urology than Dr. Caldamone.
Upon completing fellowship at CHOP in 1982, Tony was slated to begin at the Rainbow and Babies Hospital at Case Western Reserve. But in the UK, David Frank had just left Philip Ransley at Great Ormond Street Hospital to assume a position in Bristol, leaving a huge void in London. Apparently, John Duckett offered up Tony to Philip for 3 months prior to his start in Cleveland. For Philip, this was the beginning of a series of American locum tenens, including Jeffs, Woodard, Broecker, Bloom and many others who strengthened ties between British and American Pediatric Urology. For Tony, it marked the beginning of several international friendships and fruitful professional relationships with the British, the Italians and many others.
25 years later, when the Journal of Pediatric Urology was founded by David Frank, of Bristol, he selected Tony as his American Co-Editor in Chief. This proved to be the perfect choice for a nascent journal as Tony was respected and well-liked around the world. In 2015, with David's health failing, Tony assumed the role of Editor-in Chief of the Journal, which has flourished under his leadership, much to the benefit of all of us.
Thirty years ago, Tony joined an organization called Physicians for Peace (PFP) and embarked on his first Pediatric Urology mission to Bethlehem and the West Bank. Eleven other missions with PFP would follow --to Egypt, Syria and Bolivia with the model of attending to attending teaching to share our skills, make ourselves obsolete and then move on to the next destination. I had the pleasure of partnering with Tony on several of these missions and could appreciate first hand the esteem with which he was held and the mutual affection fostered between attendings. Subsequent missions have taken Tony to Bangladesh and Vietnam. And this work has assumed increasing importance to Tony, who has served as a model for volunteerism to all involved. In recognition, Tony received the University of Rochester Humanitarian Award, from one of his medical alma maters.
Many younger colleagues cannot appreciate Tony's impact on American Pediatric Urology. Roughly 20 years ago a Pediatric Urology Advisory Council was formed, comprised of the leadership of the SPU (of which Tony was President) and the AAP Section on Urology (with Gil Rushton as President). This group, representing all of pediatric Urology, began a dialogue with the American Board of Urology regarding our subspecialty, its training programs and academic rigors. Gradually, over a number of years, these annual discussions progressed until subspecialty certification with a CAQ in Pediatric Urology through the American Board was achieved. Our subspecialty finally had a formal distinction from general urologists that supported proper patient referral patterns, insurance billing and reimbursement and academic appointments. The impact of this achievement on our specialty cannot be overemphasized.
But after creation oi the CAQ, the American Board of Urology required monitoring of the standards of fellowship training and, in particular, the qualifications of the research year which was not the responsibility of the ACGME. Tony had succeeded Gil as Executive Secretary of the Pediatric Urology Advisory Council and he became the liaison between the fellowship programs and the ABU, communicating with them annually. If you are a fellowship program director or graduate within the past 20 years, Tony has served as your ambassador.
Dr. Caldamone has accomplished an extraordinary amount in Pediatric Urology and yet has come from a small program without senior colleagues or institutional influence to open doors for him. How has he done it?
Tony established his reputation as a gifted and wise clinician, dedicated and hard-working academician who accomplished all given tasks with excellence, an extraordinarily considerate colleague who is approachable, unassuming, good humored and generous in spirit. If you have had the good fortune to host him as visiting professor you know precisely.
On a personal note, my relationship with Tony is one of my most meaningful and long-lasting since we met in the in the Strong Memorial ED during his residency and my third year of medical school. Our families have become close friends. I have observed Tony as an extraordinary husband, father and grandfather. He is a prince among men. And I am delighted to see him honored in this way.
“The true character of a man is not defined by what he does in front of a crowd but instead, what he does when no one is around”. Having known Dr. Caldamone for over thirty years, this quote seems very appropriate. It should be noted that he also, nevertheless, garners a great deal of respect for what he has done in front of a crowd. So while a man's achievements over a lifetime are commendable, and in Dr. Caldamone's case they are many, what is often overlooked are the character attributes that have contributed and motivated these achievements. It is therefore essential to focus on these attributes that have made Dr. Caldamone so worthy of the AAP Medal for Urology:
C stands for Commitment. Dr. C has shown, throughout his life and career a remarkable level of commitment to his family, his community, his profession, his church and to athletic pursuits.
A stands for Altruism. He is one of the most considerate of people, always thinking of others around him and how best to interact, be it with a thoughtful comment or a thank you note. His positive outlook allows him to seek advice, to involve others and to promote individuals he knows will contribute to the many projects and causes he advocates.
L stands for Loyalty. He has maintained enduring friendships with so many of the local and international connections that he has made over the years.
D is for determination. Dr. Caldamone seems to have been motivated to do well in all aspects of life. He is known for his determination to ensure the best of patient care, to practice medicine and surgery as well as possible and to offer high quality publications and teachings.
A would represent athletics for his early pursuit of track and field and later running, skiing, bicycling, mountain climbing and squash. Adventure is not something he will shy away from as he has, for instance, climbed a 6000 m mountain in South America.
M stands for the mentoring which he has done, setting high standards as a role model for medical students, residents and physicians around the world. He is always willing to share his knowledge and experience.
But to be able to achieve what he has, Organization with a capital O is essential, and he has displayed that skill at many levels be it as residency director, committee membership at Brown University, the AUA, the AAP, the SPU and the AUA Examination committee. He has also organized and participated in many humanitarian and educational missions to countries throughout the world.
N represents his noble character and No-Nonsense approach to life. His sense of fairness and ethics are beyond reproach.
Finally E stand for Exemplary or maybe Elegance as his attire shows care and distinction whatever the circumstance.
So much more could be said about a man who's goal in life has not been to thrust himself in the limelight but rather to make the world around him a better place for so many to work, learn and live.