International Journal of Urologic History

Sentiment analysis and predictors of optimism: The AUA Presidential addresses, 1902-2019

Akhil A. Saji, Rachel Passarelli, Ashley Dixon, John L. Phillips
First Published: July 1, 2021
DOI: 10.53101/IJUH71219
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The annual addresses of the President of the American Urological Association (AUA) may articulate and reflect the contemporary goals, values, and concerns of contemporary AUA membership. There is no organized archive of such addresses. We aimed to create a searchable database of all AUA Presidents and their addresses to determine variables associated with speech sentiment including positivity, negativity, and emotional tone through the 117 years of the AUA’s history.


We queried AUA archives, journals, recorded tape, and personal records, to create a database of all existing AUA Presidential addresses and biographic data. We applied natural language processing and machine learning techniques to evaluate the addresses for overall sentiment with validation using analog analyses (i.e reading and annotation). Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify significant predictors of Presidential address sentiment.


Between 1902-2019, a total of 113 AUA meetings were held. A total of 85 of 113 (75.22%) presidential addresses were transcribed and archived in the database representing 254,124 words by male presidents with a median (IQR) age of 61.43 (53.1-66.5) years. AUA Presidents during the second half of the history of the AUA (1960-2019) were significantly older at time of inauguration and gave more positive speeches in the active voice than presidents during the first half (1902-1959) (p < .05). The only significant independent predictor of the degree of positivity in an AUA President’s annual address was speaker age (95% CI 1.007-1.119).


We created the first digital, searchable database of all AUA Presidential speeches from 1902-2019 and aim to add additional addresses prospectively. Artificial intelligence analyses mirrored the findings of human reading and demonstrated that from 1902-2019 AUA Presidential addresses became more positive and optimistic with increasing speaker age but without consistent predictors of a speech’s emotional or factual content.

Editor in Chief: John L. Phillips, MD
Journal Design: Akhil A. Saji, MD
DOI: 2769-2183
US ISSN: 2769-2183