Five Questions With: Dr. Joseph Renzulli

Dr. Joseph Renzulli, a longtime Rhode Island urologist and associate professor of urology at Yale School of Medicine, is taking on new roles as regional medical director and chief of urology at Westerly Hospital and Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, Conn. Both facilities are owned by Yale New Haven Health, which recently announced Renzulli’s hiring. 

Renzulli, the former chief of urology at South County Health, is now practicing full time at Westerly Hospital. A Rhode Island native, Renzulli also spent 12 years with University Urological Associates at Brown University and Lifespan Corp. prior to moving to Yale Medicine. 

Renzulli discusses the move to a new health system, and his interest in continuing to offer cutting-edge and minimally invasive treatment for various types of urologic cancers. 


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PBN: What is on the top of your to-do list as you settle into your new roles? 

RENZULLI: Yale Medicine Urology and Yale New Haven Health are extremely excited to expand urologic services into Rhode Island to offer all Rhode Islanders additional options for their advanced urological care. As medical centers consolidate within the state, it is important to provide individuals additional access to world-class care within the state.

Our goal is to bring multidisciplinary cancer care in collaboration with the Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Center. Through this initiative Westerly Hospital has invested in the state-of-the-art Da Vinci XI robotic system, MRI fusion technology for advanced prostate biopsies and focal therapies for prostate cancers.

In addition to our office at Westerly Hospital, we will open an outpatient office in Warwick to improve and expand access to world-class urologic care for our community.

PBN: How many physicians and other staff members are you now overseeing?

RENZULLI: As director of urology for the Eastern region at Yale Urology and chief of urology at Westerly Hospital and Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, I will work with seven board-certified urologists and three advanced-practice providers.

We are very excited to announce that we have opened national searches for an additional urologist and additional advanced-practice providers, which demonstrates our strong commitment to Rhode Island. We also have a tremendous staff of certified nurses, urology techs and medical receptionist.

PBN: What are your clinical interests as a urologist, and will you continue to see patients as you take on more administrative responsibilities?

RENZULLI: My clinical and research interests continue to center around urological cancers in men and women. These include prostate, kidney, bladder/urothelial, testicular and adrenal cancers. In collaboration with oncologists at Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers, we offer the most advanced care for all urologic diseases.

My administrative responsibilities are shared with an outstanding executive and administrative staff at Westerly Hospital and I look forward to partnering with them to enhance the urologic services offered to Rhode Islanders.

PBN: What are some of the prostate cancer clinical trials you are involved in, and do you anticipate having the opportunity to enroll patients in Westerly in any ongoing or upcoming trials?

RENZULLI: There is significant interest in expanding clinical trials throughout the delivery networks of Yale New Haven Health in collaboration with Yale Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

With the availability of multidisciplinary visits for cancer patients in Westerly, we will be incorporating access to urologic oncology clinic trials. I have participated in trials evaluating neoadjuvant therapies, options for active surveillance in prostate cancer, concurrent novel therapies with radiation and surgery for prostate cancer, and advanced therapies for metastatic prostate cancer.

PBN: Are there any services or treatments that you hope to see soon become available through Westerly Hospital’s urology department?

RENZULLI: There are numerous new services and treatment options now available at Westerly Hospital. These include diagnostic and therapeutic options that allow for very precise identification and targeting of prostate malignancies.

Westerly Hospital offers state-of-the-art multiparametric MRI fusion biopsy technology and will offer noninvasive focal therapies to destroy small tumors while preserving the majority of the prostate gland. We also offer advanced robotic surgical capabilities to address prostate, kidney and bladder cancers. Cancer patients will also have access to multidisciplinary appointments together with their urologist, oncologist and radiation oncologist along with their supportive care team to address their cancer.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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