Derek Griffiths

The ICS was very proud to present Derek Griffiths the Lifetime Achievement Award 2015. The prestigious award was presented at the Annual Dinner at the ICS Annual Scientific Meeting in Montreal where he received a long standing ovation from the audience.

Through a career of over 40 years in urodynamics, Professor Derek Griffiths’ work has been foundational in the scientific development of urodynamics. His application of physics to urology has been carried out in Exeter, UK; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Alberta, Canada; and Pittsburgh, USA. Over 100 publications testify to his rigorous and careful approach to the measurement of bladder function, which include seminal developments in the field, including mathematical modelling, assessment of male prostatic obstruction and the use of functional MRI. To quote Adrian Wagg (ICS General Secretary) on the recent republication of his 1980 book, Dr Griffiths is “one of ‘the greats’ in the field. This textbook remains an essential resource.” That such a statement can be made of a 35 year old book in a rapidly developing technological context is a testimony to the depth of understanding and foresight characterised by Professor Griffiths’ work. He has exemplified the role of the clinical scientist, bridging clinical and technical fields with clarity of communication. He has contributed to several ICS standard documents, served on many editorial boards and his work remains a reliable foundation for scientists in the field today.

Some worthy words from some of Derek’s colleagues:

Paul Abrams writes: “Derek Griffiths is the father of urodynamic science and provided the intellectual impetus to the development of modern urodynamics. He was able to gain the support of his colleagues in producing the ICS Pressure-Flow nomogram, thereby making patient diagnosis more consistent across the world. He has also made great contributions to paediatric urodynamics and most recently, through his work in Pittsburgh, on our understanding of detrusor overactivity in older age.”

Gordon Hosker “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of an ICS lifetime achievement award than Derek Griffiths. His involvement with the ICS was from its beginning and without his continuing input, the organisation would not be the credible success it is today. In particular, his commitment to ensuring that urodynamics is established and developed on a scientifically-sound basis is fundamental to it being a valuable tool in the understanding and management of lower urinary tract dysfunction. He is an inspirational writer, lecturer, researcher and teacher. Over a 40 year period, he has enthused and encouraged many working in the field of lower urinary tract dysfunction, particularly physicists and engineers like myself.”

Ron van Mastrigt: “In 1978 Derek joined us at the department of Urology of Erasmus University Rotterdam, and for 10 years I had the great pleasure of closely cooperating with him. One of Derek’s great character traits became immediately evident when I verified joint publications. Derek’s publication list in his CV shows 9 full publications that I co-author, whereas mine shows 14 that he coauthors. This man is obviously very modest. At my PhD defence, which was before his appointment in Rotterdam, he congratulated me with the “excellent English” in which my thesis was written, modestly forgetting that he had corrected it for me. The many projects that we jointly undertook centred naturally around computer based urodynamics. Derek did the clinical urodynamic sessions, I developed software to measure pressure and flowrate and store it in a central database. This culminated in the computer program CLIM which was the first ever program for computerised urodynamics. Through all of this I had a great, rewarding and stimulating time with Derek, and I learned an awful lot from him.”

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