History of Urology Forum
Presentation Authors: Unwanaobong Nseyo*, Brittney Cotta, Jill Buckley, San Diego, CA
Introduction: In the early twentieth century, when urology was beginning to define itself as a separate specialty, obtaining urologic training was based primarily on an apprenticeship model where an individual would seek appointment at a hospital where a well-known urologic surgeon was present. For African-American physicians, who developed an interest in urology, this process was complicated by the fact that their entry to many academic institutions were barred due to the sociopolitical attitudes at the time. One of the first African-American urologists, Dr. Richard Frank Jones recognized this deficiency and established the Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C. as one of the premier, and only, training sites for African-American urologists in the country.
Methods: The historical record was reviewed and primary and secondary sources regarding urologic training in the 1910s to 1920s for African-Americans and physicians in general were identified. Archival materials concerning Freedmen's Hospital were also analyzed.
Results: Freedmen's Hospital was affiliated with Howard University, one of the two remaining African-American medical schools and a site associated with the training of nearly all of the African-American physicians at the time. Ten years after he became a board-certified Urologists, Dr. R. Frank Jones became solely dedicated to the training of African-American urologists, starting the first official urology training program. The practice of barring physicians from practice unless they were part of a specialty society and the slow pace with which medical specialty societies were integrated limited training options for African-American urologists, highlighting the importance of Dr. Jones' training program. Some of his influential trainees include Dr. Delutha King, who went on to become the only African-American urologist in Alabama and VA Section Chief of Urology at the Tuskegee VA Medical Center.
Conclusions: Currently, while a urology division exists, there is no urology residency training program at Howard University. However, the legacy of Dr. R. Frank Jones as a founding father for the African-American urologists in the United States remains. The impact of Dr. R. Frank Jones and his trainees on not only the practice of urology but on larger societal issues of their time is echoed by the increasing number of individuals of color pursuing urology training.
Source of Funding: None