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Dr. Marilyn Hopkins doesn’t mind being the only girl in the room. In fact, she’s very much looking forward to it.

Dr. Hopkins has joined Clinical Urology Associates, a group of five urologists – all men. They are enthusiastically welcoming her into the boys’ club. She’s not focused on breaking down barriers but is eager to start seeing patients in Marshall Medical Centers North and South.

“I think I can help people feel comfortable and be able to open up to me,” she says.

Dr. Hopkins, a Mississippi native, is coming from a two-year stint in a busy private practice in Tupelo. She graduated from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2014 with Dr. Michael Jennings, a close friend and now a partner in Clinical Urology. Dr. Jennings called his former classmate last year and asked if she knew anyone looking for a position. She told him she might be interested.

She eventually traveled to North Alabama to meet the group and fell in love with the area. She and her husband Dex, a strength and conditioning coach and a videographer, bought a house in Guntersville. He plans to work remotely and stay home with their two girls, Anna, 2, and baby Lolo.

“We love the house and neighborhood we found,” Dr. Hopkins says. “We’re very outdoorsy, active lifestyle kind of people. I can’t wait to take my kids hiking. It just couldn’t have worked out any better.”

Dr. Hopkins decided early in medical school to be a surgeon. She got a routine assignment to urology for a couple of weeks. She found she enjoyed the patients, made friends in the department and decided to take the next step.

“It kind of fell into place,” she says. “I didn’t really know what urology was until I got assigned to it.”

Only eight percent of urologists are female, according to a poll from WebMD that includes gender distribution among medical specialties. Urology has the lowest share of women physicians out of 26 specialties. The American Urological Association is tracking a gradual increase in the number of females entering the field.

Dr. Hopkins found the field of urology interesting partly because of the variety of cases, which can range from kidney stones, kidney and bladder cancer, prostate cancer to anything that can affect the urinary system.

“There’s a lot of diversity in it,” she says. “It never gets boring.”

A fellowship on reconstructive urology in Fort Worth gave Dr. Hopkins experience dealing with issues such as scarring in the urinary tract.

“It was tedious and difficult but very rewarding work,” she says. “It’s very gratifying.”

Dr. Hopkins grew up in southern Mississippi working in the family funeral home business where everyone helped out. It was her job throughout college. Being involved in that particular family business left its mark. It made her very empathetic and sympathetic, and gave her a desire to help people. It also taught her about dealing with and talking about difficult issues, such as end of life.

“And it instilled a work ethic because it was a full time job,” she recalls. “No nights off, no days off.”

As a child, Dr. Hopkins found science fascinating and she knew early on that she wanted to become a physician. She was encouraged to set her sights high. It was no surprise that she loved medical school.

Dr. Hopkins will start seeing patients at the beginning of September and is looking forward to getting to know them. She is aware that some men may be apprehensive at first about seeing a female urologist. Some female patients may prefer a woman doctor. Her previous practice was equally split among men and women patients.

“Some women will delay care because they don’t want to go to a male urologist,” she says. “Men will put off care because they don’t want to go to a doctor at all. It’s very personal and private. If people do delay seeking care, they’re possibly worsening the condition.”

The home office of Clinical Urology Associates is located in Gadsden. Doctors see patients at Marshall North and South during several clinic days each week. Soon though, they will have their own building which is under construction next to Papa Dubi’s in Albertville. It is expected to be open within the next six months. Patients will be seen only in the new location once it is open but physicians will continue to do surgical procedures in both hospitals.

Dr. Hopkins has toured Marshall Medical’s facilities and was happy with everything from the staff to the operating rooms and doctors’ lounges.

“I’m very impressed so far,” she says. “It seems too good to be true. People here in the hospital and everywhere I’ve gone have been super accommodating, very helpful.”

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  • May 14, 2024 8:34 am local time

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