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Treatment Team

Prostate and Urologic Cancers Clinic

Michael S. Cookson, MD

Professor and Chairman, Department of Urology

Michael Shawn Cookson, MD, MMHC, is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Urology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He holds the Donald D. Albers Endowed Chair in Urology.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Cookson holds a Bachelor of Arts with high honors degree in Journalism and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Doctor of Medicine with high honors degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Dr. Cookson completed his Surgery Internship and Urology Residency at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas.  This was followed by a fellowship in Urologic Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York.

Dr. Cookson served on the faculty of the University of Kentucky School of Medicine for two years before joining the Vanderbilt School of Medicine in 1998, where he had a distinguished career that included serving as the Vice Chairman of Clinical Affairs in the Department of Urology and Director of the Urologic Oncology Fellowship. In 2009, Dr. Cookson earned his Master of Management in Health Care degree from the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management.

Dr. Cookson’s clinical practice is specialized in Urologic Oncology. He is a busy clinician and surgeon who is proficient in both robotic-assisted laparoscopic and open surgery for prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancers. He has 20 years of experience in the management of patients with urologic cancers.

Dr. Cookson is one of the most experienced urologic cancer surgeons in the country and has performed more than 1,000 robotic surgeries and more than 2,000 major open surgeries for urologic cancer. He has a special interest in prostate and bladder cancer. He commonly performs both open and robotic radical prostatectomy, radical cystectomy and complex urinary diversions.

Dr. Cookson has devoted a significant portion of his academic career to the management of patients with urologic cancers, with a strong emphasis on Clinical Guidelines, Education and Evidenced Based Medicine. In 2011, he received the President’s Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Urologic Oncology for educational contributions. For his efforts in teaching at Vanderbilt, he was awarded the Michael Rodriquez Award.

 An accomplished researcher and lecturer, Dr. Cookson is the author of 250 peer-reviewed journal publications and 30 chapters of various textbooks in urology and urologic surgery. He is an active member of the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons and numerous other national professional societies and committees.

He has been recognized nationally for his outstanding contributions to urologic oncology, and has been consistently named as one of the Best Doctors in America, in Who’s Who in America, and as one of America’s Top Doctors for Cancer for the past several years.


Fellowship: Urologic Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
Residency: Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, University of Texas, San Antonio
Medical School: University of Oklahoma College of Medicine

Research Interests:

Prostate Cancer including active surveillance and nerve-sparing surgery
Bladder Cancer including intravesical therapies and radical cystectomy
Robotic Surgery including prostatectomy, cystectomy and partial nephrectomy
Urinary Diversion including continent diversion and neobladder
Castration-resistant prostate cancer
Renal cell carcinoma including minimally invasive and open surgical techniques
Testicular cancer including RPLND and nerve-sparing

Honors and Awards:

Michael Rodriquez Award, Vanderbilt
President's Distinguished Service Award, Society of Urologic Oncology, 2011

Professional Associations:

American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons, Active Member
American Urological Association Advanced Prostate Cancer Guidelines Panel Chair
Society of Urologic Oncology, Oncology Knowledge Assessment Committee