Dr. Martha Terris, chief of the Section of Urology in the Medical College of Georgia Department of Surgery, is the recipient of the American Urological Association’s 2022 Distinguished Service Award. She will be honored at the association’s annual meeting in New Orleans in May.
Terris, Witherington Distinguished Chair in Urology, is being recognized for her outstanding contributions to urologic research and for her work on the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital, or SEARCH, cohort, a prospective longitudinal study of men with prostate cancer undergoing treatment at nine Veterans Affairs Medical Centers across the United States, including at the Charlie Norwood VAMC in Augusta.
The cohort aims to take advantage of the strength of the racially diverse veteran population and the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers’ electronic medical record system for prostate cancer research with the goal of informing clinical practice. Terris, also a urologic oncologist at the Georgia Cancer Center, served as chief of urology at the Norwood VAMC from 2005 to 2021, and still sees patients there as a staff urologist.
The SEARCH cohort was formed in 2000 under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Freedland, a urologist and prostate cancer researcher at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Freedland and other SEARCH investigators, including Terris, published their first paper on the role of race predicting prostate cancer outcomes after radical prostatectomies in October 2002. Since that time the group has published over 155 manuscripts.
Terris’s clinical research focuses on prostate and bladder cancers and she is a co-investigator, along with Dr. Vinata B. Lokeshwar, chair of the MCG Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, on a $2.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute looking for novel biomarkers for the clinical management of bladder cancer.
She also was a co-investigator, along with Lokeshwar, on a U.S. Department of Defense grant aimed at the development of new and noninvasive tests that could help predict prognosis for people diagnosed with bladder cancer. More than a decade ago, Terris reported in the British Journal of Urology International a link between Agent Orange exposure and the risk of aggressive recurrence of prostate cancer in veterans. Exposure to the chemical has also been linked to bladder cancer.
She has authored over 350 peer-reviewed publications, nearly 60 invited publications and 11 books and book chapters.
In 2020, Terris was named to the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons, an elite organization that is limited to the top 75 urologists in the United States who are under 65. Membership is by invitation only.
A member of the AUA since 1997, she also is a member of the group’s Science and Quality Committee and has served on its Women’s Issues, Nominating and Annual Meeting Program Committees.
Terris serves on the editorial boards of Urology, Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases and Urologic Oncology, and is the urology section editor for eMedicine.com. She is a member of the American Board of Urology’s Board of Trustees, as well as its Maintenance of Certification, Finance and Residency Review Committees. She is a member of the board of directors of the Society of Academic Urologists and its Urologic Congruency Task Force.
She joined the MCG faculty in 2002 and led the Urology Residency Program at the medical school and its teaching affiliate Augusta University Health System from 2004 to 2020, growing the program from one resident per year to three.
Terris earned her medical degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and completed surgery training at Duke University and a urology residency and fellowship in urologic oncology/ultrasound at Stanford University Medical Center.