Urologist Joseph Gleason finds a perfect fit at Conrad Pearson Group
By JAMES DOWD
Growing up outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, Joseph Gleason never imagined that one day he’d move to Tennessee, much less to Memphis.
But for nearly a decade, Gleason – who specializes in general adult and pediatric urology at Conrad Pearson Clinic – has lived and worked in Shelby County and these days he can’t imagine being anywhere else.
“This is a real family affair. Our first son was born in Canada, but our second son was born in Memphis and my wife’s parents and grandparents moved here a few years ago,” Gleason said. “We love spending time with our family here and taking advantage of what Memphis has to offer. This is home.”
The route from Minnesota to Memphis was circuitous, Gleason said, beginning with his undergraduate studies at Notre Dame. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, he entered medical school at the University of Minnesota. Gleason originally planned to specialize in trauma surgery, but the influence of a trusted mentor changed his career trajectory.
“My pathway into urology happened because of a mentor I had in med school who was a pediatric urologist,” Gleason said. “He suggested a rotation in pediatric urology, so I decided to try it out and ended up traveling around town with a urologist who got me plugged into all this. That’s when I realized this was what I was meant to do.”
Following a urology residency at Kaiser Foundation Hospitals in Los Angeles, Gleason moved to Canada for a urology fellowship in Toronto at the Hospital for Sick Children. His work in Toronto included treating children with cancer and that experience led to his arrival in Tennessee.
“At first I had some mild regret because I liked adult urology,” Gleason said. “We’d had our first child in Canada and it was a great opportunity, but at the end of my fellowship I signed with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital because of its partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the chance to do amazing work with incredible people.”
Gleason moved to the Bluff City in 2014 and within a year was named Chief of Pediatric Urology at St. Jude. He spent seven years in the role before taking time off in 2022 to reassess career priorities and determine the next phase of his professional journey.
“Things were great there and we did innovative procedures that helped a lot of patients,” Gleason said. “Eventually I realized it was time for me to do something different, so I stepped away to spend more time with my family and figure it out.”
A conversation with a doctor at Conrad Pearson opened up a new career avenue for Gleason when he learned the group was looking to expand. Because of Gleason’s experience with children and adults, he seemed to be a perfect fit and earlier this year joined the practice as a general and pediatric urologist.
At Conrad Pearson, Gleason specializes in general adult urology and pediatric urology, including neurogenic bladder and bowel, reconstructive procedures, hypospadias, hydronephrosis, undescended testicles, hernias and minimally invasive/robotic surgery.
“One of challenges with pediatric urology nationwide is transitional care,” Gleason said. “Many practices are limited to young patients, but when those patients reach their late teens to early twenties there are fewer facilities that provide quality care. That’s one of the beauties of Conrad Pearson because I can treat patients from infancy to senior adults.”
Gleason, who is certified by the American Board of Urology with a Certificate of Added Qualification in Pediatric Urology, joined eight adult urologists at the Conrad Pearson Group. Gleason’s credentials allow him to treat patients of all ages, including surgical procedures at Le Bonheur and area hospitals.
“In my opinion, it’s great for patients in Memphis and the Mid-South to have another option of where to go for treatment because of volume of those who need care,” Gleason said. “There’s a huge demand nationally for pediatric urologists, so having another outlet to see patients in our area means less waiting for tests and treatment. This is great for our community.”
The Conrad Pearson Group currently accepts young patients and Gleason anticipates the facility will offer surgical procedures in the future. Most work is performed on an outpatient basis and the clinic may eventually add another pediatric urologist if demand necessitates further expansion.
For Gleason, the opportunity to engage in meaningful work in a community he loves makes the move from Minneapolis to Memphis worth it.
“I love this area and being in private practice because it allows me to focus on clinical care and devote all my time to patients,” Gleason said. “Everyone at Conrad Pearson has been so supportive, and I looking forward to helping kids in the Memphis area. I feel destined to be here.”