Robert Geist received his B.A. in 1951, his B.S. in 1952, and his M.D. in 1954, all from the University of Minnesota. He completed a residency in urology at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Minneapolis. Geist spent his career working in private practice in the Twin Cities area.
Geist first discusses his background, including his education. He then discusses his residency at the Minneapolis VA Hospital. He describes going into private practice, his experiences building his practice, the challenges he faced, and his relationship with the University of Minnesota. He discusses women in his medical school class and in urology, the impact of the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid, the concerns over the shortage of doctors in the 1960s, and the increase in the UMN Medical School’s class size because of those concerns. He discusses some of his involvement in medical politics since 1973, including his experiences with HMOs after their creation, with the Minnesota Medical Association, and with fee-splitting and referral practices. He reflects on the relationship between St. Paul and Minneapolis physicians and between them and the UMN, including the contentious politics between some St. Paul doctors and the UMN in the 1960s, particularly in relation to the attempt to establish a St. Paul medical school.
Robert Geist was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 4, 1928. He attended the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate and medical degrees. He received his BA in 1951, his BS in 1952, and his MD in 1954. He did a one-year residency at the Washington, DC General Hospital and then returned to the Minneapolis Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital to complete his residency in urology. Geist went into private practice in 1960, where he initially worked alone. In 1968, he went into group practice with two other urologists. This group practice grew over the years to six urologists. In 1994, this group practice merged with another practice, became known as Metro Urology, and grew to include more than twenty urologists, including many with subspecialties. Metro Urology’s only link with the UMN is through pediatric urology, with which Geist was involved. Geist retired in 1997, but returned to the VA for three years in the urology department because of a shortage of urologists. He also served in the Army after graduating from high school (1946-48).