(2018) M. Robert Yakely, MD, who completed his residency in urology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine after earning his medical degree from The Ohio State University in 1966, has received the CU School of Medicine’s Alumni Association Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes lifelong service to society, extraordinary service to the community, and leadership through global or local service.
Aside from his many hours dedicated to leadership in organized medicine here in Colorado, Yakely also is responsible for establishing prostate cancer screening on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. While he and his wife Rosemary were visiting there in 1996, they had reason to visit a medical clinic. When the doctor there learned that Yakely was a urologist, he asked if he’d be willing to see some patients who had late-stage prostate cancer. It was apparent that the doctors at the clinic were only able to detect the disease in its late stages.
The only urologists were in Puerto Rico, so the family doctors in Tortola felt they had to be sure the patient had cancer before they could refer them to Puerto Rico, due to the expense. Yakely expressed an interest in helping the people of Tortola, and within a few weeks, the head of the British Virgin Islands Red Cross told Yakely she would provide what he’d need to establish screening.
During the first year of the screening process, 50 patients were screened. By 2007, 1,500 men were screened. Because of their work, Yakely and his wife, Rosemary, were made honorary citizens of the British Virgin Islands.
Locally, Yakely is president of the Colorado Medical Society, on which he has served in numerous capacities since 1980. He had a private practice in the Denver metro area for 23 years, after which he was co-director of the Rocky Mountain Kidney Stone Center for 17 years. Yakely also has served on the Board of Directors of the Clear Creek Valley Medical Society and as president of the Rocky Mountain Urologic Society.
Yakely also was chairman of the West Side Urology Department at Lutheran and St. Anthony’s Hospitals, serving three terms from 1993-1995.