Spotlight on Black Urologist

Black Urologist Spotlight: Dr. Jacqueline Hamilton

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Undergraduate: Howard University
Medical School:  Howard School of Medicine
General Surgery: Albert Einstein – Montefiore
Urology Residency: Howard Urology Residency Program
Fellowship: University of Alabama

Dr. Hamilton is a private practice General Urologist in Orlando, Florida and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a past president of the RFJ Urologic Society. She completed a fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS). In fact, she holds the distinction of being the first fellow in FPMRS at the University of Alabama and is the second black female to matriculate through the Urology Residency Program at Howard University.

As part of our Black Urologist spotlight series, I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Hamilton and hear her story about her journey to becoming a Urologist. Below are some of the highlights from our conversation.

What was it like growing up in Birmingham, Alabama?
I was born in the 60s. I grew up with two sisters and a brother in a middle class Black community. My mother is from Birmingham and my father is from Pensacola, Florida. They both came of age during the height of the civil rights era. Back then historically black colleges were really the best options for my parents to pursue higher education. They both attended HBCUs. Our household was very afro-centric and proud to be black. I went to a predominantly black elementary school and a lot of my friends from elementary school continued with me through high school. I had great relationships in the high school and with my teachers. Our high school was integrated, and race relations were improving, but I still remember walking back home from summer camp with my siblings through white communities and having profanities yelled at us just because of the color of our skin.

What made you decide to pursue a career in medicine and ultimately Urology?
My father was the first board certified Black surgeon in Birmingham, Alabama. I used to spend of the summers helping him with patients in his office. Being in his office, seeing him take care of patients and the joy it gave him was very influential in my decision to become a doctor. He was also very supportive, but never pushed me one way or the other.

Where did you go for your undergraduate studies?
I went to Howard University, aka The Mecca, for my undergraduate studies, medical school and Urology residency. The Mecca was a very nurturing environment. It was very empowering to be around Black scholars. I also joined the AKAs which brought another level of family, sisterhood, networking, and camaraderie.

Why Urology and Who was your mentor?
My first Urology case was a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), in the clinical portion of my general surgery rotation in a pig lab. That showed me I liked working with my hands and I wanted to be a surgeon. In my 3rd year of medical school Dr. Pamela Coleman, a trail blazer in the field, gave a lecture at the medical school. I approached her after class and shadowed her at her practice and got to see and do several cases with her. She has a very successful practice and is very highly regarded. I knew I could learn a lot from her.

What advice do you have for the next generation pursuing a career in Urology?
Partnering with a mentor is key because each step of the process has a lot of unknowns and can be anxiety provoking. We all know that as we enter the next phase of an educational or career endeavor we face a lot of uncertainties so having someone guide you through the process step-by-step is key. Also staying competitive academically & communicating career interests to professors who are supportive gives an extra advantage.