As interim chair, Christopher Keel, D.O., FACS, led the creation of a five-year urology residency program. He also has worked to recruit urology specialists with an interest in academic medicine.
By Carol McPhail
Christopher Keel, D.O., FACS, has been named chair of the Department of Urology at the Whiddon College of Medicine. A board-certified urologist at USA Health University Urology, Keel has served as interim chair of the department since it was established in 2022.
“We have been impressed by Dr. Keel’s leadership in helping USA Health fulfill its mission as an academic health system,” said John V. Marymont, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the Whiddon College of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at USA. “He is passionate about mentoring and training medical students and residents, and he has demonstrated that enthusiasm during his time as interim chair.”
As interim chair, Keel has led the creation of a five-year urology residency program, now accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. He also has worked to recruit urology specialists with an interest in academic medicine. The Department of Urology now includes seven urologists, including two fellowship-trained pediatric urologists, and five advanced practice providers.
“I am very proud of what our team has accomplished in the short time I have been here and of the evolution I have seen in the level of care we are now able to provide,” said Keel, who also serves as an associate professor of urology at the Whiddon College of Medicine. “Our response to the growing physician shortage and the development of a residency training program have been paramount and will be vitally important for the future health of our community and our mission. This will have a long-lasting positive impact on our region, and I am just happy to be a part of a team of talented and compassionate urologists who share a desire to educate.”
In August, Keel worked with a visiting surgeon to perform University Hospital’s second-ever renal auto-transplant, a rare surgery in which a patient’s kidney is removed and implanted in a different location in the body to restore function. The two performed the first-ever surgery together last year.
“Since Dr. Keel joined USA Health, he has worked diligently to expand our services and build upon the high quality of urology care provided to people of all ages in our area,” said Owen Bailey, MSHA, FACHE, chief executive officer for USA Health and senior associate vice president for medical affairs.
A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Keel joined USA Health University Urology in 2019. He earned his medical degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and completed an internship in surgery and a residency in urology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He is board certified by the American Board of Urology and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Keel has been recognized for achievements in researching the impact of surgery on the kidney and for developing novel approaches for minimally invasive surgery. He is an active member of the Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association and the Society of Robotic Surgery.