Timothy D. Lyon, M.D.

  • Consultant, Department of Urology
  • Assistant Professor of Urology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science

What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a clinician?

Every Saturday morning my father, who is a physician, would call each patient on whom he had operated the day prior. While not a discrete experience, this modeled for me the professionalism required of a physician as well as the fulfillment that can come with helping people navigate the process of illness and recovery. I considered several other career paths during my undergraduate years, but kept coming back to medicine.

What motivated you to become a Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar?

Upon arriving on the Florida campus of Mayo Clinic, I noticed that patients with bladder cancer were experiencing significantly more fragmented care than what I had observed in other parts of the country. I wanted to better understand what factors were leading to these differences. However, I didn't possess the necessary skills to rigorously study these disparities or to implement solutions to improve the delivery of bladder cancer care in the region.

Through interactions with other Kern Scholars, I realized that the Kern Health Care Delivery Scholars Program was the perfect avenue through which I could further my methodological training and collaborate with like-minded scholars to increase the impact of my research.

What is your focus as a scholar within the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?

The focus of my work is to study the provision of radical cystectomy care for bladder cancer in the state of Florida. Radical cystectomy, which is the standard of care for treatment of invasive bladder cancer, is a complex operation with a considerable risk of complications. Unfortunately, many patients are unable to access care at a high-volume center and may therefore experience suboptimal treatment outcomes.

Through this work, I will identify populations and geographic regions within Florida where opportunities exist for improving the quality of radical cystectomy care. Then, I will use these data to implement targeted strategies designed to address these barriers.

Tell us about your mentoring team.

I am fortunate to have the support of an accomplished group of individuals to mentor me in this work.

  • Aaron C. Spaulding, Ph.D., is an associate professor of health services research at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science who has successfully mentored several Kern Health Care Delivery Scholars. I will benefit greatly from his knowledge and experience using both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess value and outcomes of care.
  • Dorin T. Colibaseanu, M.D., is an associate professor of surgery at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and a previous Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar. He has a track record of success studying disparities in access to surgical care while maintaining a busy colorectal surgery practice on the Florida campus, which makes him uniquely positioned to mentor me in this work.
  • Stephen A. Boorjian, M.D., is the Carl Rosen Professor of Urology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, the vice chair of research in the Mayo Clinic Department of Urology, and the director of the Urologic Oncology Fellowship at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. He is an internationally recognized expert in bladder cancer. Dr. Boorjian and I have worked closely together for several years, and he will lend key insights into the scope of this work as well as my own career development.
  • Elizabeth B. Habermann, Ph.D., is the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Scientific Director for Surgical Outcomes and has successfully mentored both Kern Health Care Delivery Scholars and Surgical Outcomes fellows. She is especially well versed in outcomes research and quality measures.

How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?

Nearly 50% of patients in the United States with invasive bladder cancer do not receive therapy with curative intent; among those that do, many experience unnecessary delays in care due to a lack of access to the appropriate resources in their own communities.

I plan to use both quantitative and qualitative methods to better understand the patient- and provider-level barriers that exist in access to radical cystectomy care in the region, which will inform implementation of strategies to improve access to high-quality bladder cancer care.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to pursue your career?

Choosing to practice at Mayo Clinic was an easy decision. I was privileged to complete my fellowship training on the Minnesota campus, where I witnessed firsthand how the collaborative Mayo culture allows patients with complex conditions to receive efficient multidisciplinary care. This often inspires one of the most important aspects of health and healing: hope. I jumped at the chance to practice in an organization that is singularly focused on placing the needs of the patient first.