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UNC Urology is  proud to announce an exceptional achievement of two of our rising stars, Dr. Brooke Spratte and Dr. Colton Walker, who were selected to participate in the prestigious AUA Early Career Investigators Workshop. This year’s workshop took place at the AUA Headquarters in Linthicum, Maryland on October 20-21, 2023. This remarkable accomplishment is a testament to their dedication and passion for advancing urological research.

What magnifies the significance of this achievement is the fact that this workshop typically extends invitations to only about 30 nominees each year. The distinction of having both of our exceptional trainees secure their positions at this highly sought-after event is remarkable. Notably, Dr. Spratte’s selection as a second-year resident adds an extra layer of distinction, as residents are rarely chosen for this opportunity.

About the ECIW

The Early-Career Investigators Workshop (ECIW), held annually, serves as a platform to nurture career development in the field of urologic research by equipping participants with the essential tools for successful grant writing. This program offers a unique opportunity for selected participants to engage in one-on-one mentoring sessions with scientific advisors, gain insights into navigating federally funded grant programs, directly interact with program officers, participate in mock peer reviews, and receive guidance on developing a fundable research program. Notably, several UNC Urology surgeon scientists, Drs. Ray Tan, and Dave Friedlander, and urologic oncology fellow, Dr. Kathryn Hacker Gessner, are alumni of the ECIW.

“As the Vice Chair of Research for the UNC Department of Urology, I am thrilled that these two outstanding trainees represented our department on the national stage.  I am extremely grateful for the ongoing efforts of the American Urological Association to stimulate the pipeline of urologic researchers, further advancing urologic care in the United States.”

Katherine Chan, MD, MPH
Vice Chair For Research
Director of The Pediatric Kidney Stone Clinic
Director of Pediatric Urology Research
Associate Professor of Urology


Meet Dr. Colton Walker

Dr. Colton H. Walker, MD, is  one of UNC Urology’s Urologic Oncology Fellows. Originally hailing from Louisiana, Dr. Walker completed his medical education at Louisiana State University School of Medicine, where he distinguished himself by being inducted into both the Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism honor societies. He  then went completed his urology residency at the University of Michigan. Dr. Walker has a specific interest in increasing access to – and the quality of – cancer care in underserved populations. During his residency, he worked extensively with the Michigan Urological Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MUSIC), an initiative with which UNC Urology has strong ties. Dr. Walker envisions building upon this invaluable work in North Carolina during his fellowship.

Meet Dr. Brooke Spratte

Dr. Brooke Spratte is on her way to being a “Triple Tar Heel.” She completed her undergraduate education in Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and later earned her Medical Doctorate at the UNC School of Medicine. Dr. Spratte is  a second-year resident within UNC Urology’s residency program (Class of 2027). Earlier this year, Dr. Spratte was also selected as one of UNC School of Medicine’s “Resident Representatives” on the newly formed Strategic Plan Steering Committee. In this role, she is actively participating in shaping the future of the UNC School of Medicine by contributing to the development of the newest version of the school’s strategic plan.