Introduction: Dr. Frank B. Bicknell, a Michigan urologist, made significant contributions to the early field of pediatric urology and helped establish the history club and forum at the American Urological Association (AUA).
Methods: We researched the life of Dr. Bicknell via his publications, archived documents from the Didusch Museum and through the description of his life and accomplishments by his colleagues including John K. Lattimer and Frank Hinman Jr.
Results: Frank B. Bicknell (1907-1999) attended the University of Michigan (1925-1928) and the University of Michigan Medical School (1928-1932) prior to his internship and urology residency at the Receiving Hospital in Detroit, Michigan (1932-1936). He served in the Merchant Marine in the 1930s, was a major in World War II and served as Professor of Urology at Wayne State University.
In 1951 Dr. Bicknell got together a small group of seven urologists interested in pediatric urology during the AUA Annual Meeting. Drs. Campbell, Barber, Johnson, Mertz, Hinman Jr. and Spence all met in Dr. Bicknell's Chicago hotel room and would form The Societies for Pediatric Urology. At the time, Dr. Bicknell's brother-in-law had just become president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Dr. John Lattimer with the help of Dr. Bicknell's brother-in-law was able to get a room at the AAP meeting which he filled with 2500 people, thought to be the largest collection of urologists in one room at the time. The success of the session led to the organization of the AAP Section of Urology in 1960 (became a permanent section in 1971). It also impressed upon the AUA the magnitude of interest in pediatric urology. This allowed pediatric urologists to secure an exclusive session on the day before the main AUA meeting which has persisted since that time. In 1980, he wrote a text chapter "Pediatric Urology" describing the birth and history of the field and its current areas of study.
Dr. Bicknell introduced a History of Urology Club at the 1965 AUA annual meeting. He chaired this popular event during its first decade, after which it was renamed the Forum on the History of Urology. The forum now occupies an entire afternoon during the annual meeting, with papers presented on historic urologic topics. The highlight of this assembly is the annual lecture on the history of medicine. In 2000, this oration was renamed the Frank Bicknell History of Urology Oration to honor the founder of the History Forum.
Conclusions: Dr. Frank Bicknell was an early leader in pediatric urology and urologic history who helped found The Societies of Pediatric Urology and the AUA History Forum.