Story by: David Steen Martin on April 6, 2022
Laura B. Cornwell, M.D., hadn’t set her sights on a career in medicine until midway through high school. The Louisville native traveled to Chicago, Illinois, to visit her older sister, who was then in her first year of training after medical school.
From that moment on, the then-teenager knew she wanted to be a doctor.
“Seeing my sister do something difficult definitely inspired me,” said Dr. Cornwell, who is a pediatric urologist with Norton Children’s Urology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine. “I wanted to try to do something hard.”
Her older sister, Jennifer M. Brey, M.D., is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.
As a pediatric urologist, Dr. Cornwell treats conditions of the kidney, bladder and urinary systems, and some issues with reproductive organs. She sees patients ranging from infants to teenagers and young adults, and she splits her time between seeing patients in office visits and performing surgery.
According to Dr. Cornwell, she likes trying to help her patients with issues that could impact them throughout their lives — to ensure urinary and reproductive systems are as healthy as they can be. She decided to become a pediatric urologist during medical school.
“I just enjoyed my time with the pediatric cases the most. I enjoy kids,” said Dr. Cornwell, herself a mother of three.
Dr. Cornwell said she takes all the time she needs to with her patients and their families to make sure they understand what is happening medically and what the treatment options are. Many of her patients are born with conditions that need to be addressed to improve their quality of life right away.
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“They come to me with an anatomy issue. We fix it, and they hopefully never need to see a urologist again,” Dr. Cornwell said.
Others have kidney issues that need treatment so that they won’t hurt the patient when they’re older.
Still other children seen by Dr. Cornwell have chronic bladder dysfunction. These children have neurological or anatomical issues with their bladders and need to be seen regularly over time.
“We want to make sure they are as happy and healthy as they can be from a urinary point of view,” said Dr. Cornwell, who practices in Louisville at Norton Medical Plaza 3 – St. Matthews and at the Novak Center for Children’s Health downtown, and travels once a month to the Norton Children’s Outpatient Center at Commonwealth Plaza in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Dr. Cornwell said she is passionate about improving access to pediatric urology care and improving the number of treatment options the urology team is able to offer patients with bladder dysfunction.
Dr. Cornwell grew up in East Louisville and attended the University of Louisville both as an undergraduate and for medical school, before doing training in surgery and urology and then completing a pediatric urology fellowship.
Happy to be back in Louisville, Dr. Cornwell spends most of her free time with her son and two daughters, who range in age from 13 years old to four months. They enjoy outdoor activities together. She also enjoys cooking, baking and photography.