She Is...Business: Dr. Washington Thrives by Educating Patients and Empowering the Next Generation

June 30, 2023
Amanda McElfresh, The Advocate
Amanda McElfresh, The Advocate
Hancock Whitney
Hancock Whitney

Dr. Courtney Washington considers herself fortunate to have been surrounded by inspiring women since childhood. Her mother has been a lifelong source of support, moving to Texas to help Dr. Washington after the birth of her twin sons and now working in her medical clinic. Her grandmother raised seven children – always with home-cooked meals and in a pristine home -- while moving constantly because of her husband’s military career. Despite having an eighth-grade education, she had a vast library and told her children and grandchildren they could do anything they wanted to.

Dr. Courtney Washington


“I always knew that my dream was to work in medicine,” Dr. Washington said. “I was so inspired by my pediatrician. She looked like me and was always so positive. When I was a kid, I started watching the TV show ‘Trauma: Life in the ER.’ I loved everything about it. As I got older, I took advantage of every opportunity to be a volunteer in hospitals and follow doctors around. I just knew this was the path for me.”

Today, Dr. Washington works as a primary care physician in her hometown of New Orleans. Her education took her to medical school at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, Georgia and residency training at Medical City Fort Worth. But, she always knew she wanted to eventually treat patients in her native city.

“I was homesick when I was away,” she said. “Some doctors build a life in the community where they do their residency and I did like the Fort Worth area, but it’s been amazing to be home. I get to see people I grew up with. We speak the same language and understand each other’s backgrounds. It’s awesome to be able to treat them and also motivate other people that want to go into medicine.”

To reach patients in as many ways as possible, Dr. Washington has also created a YouTube channel as Dr. Nola Knows. The online presence was created after Dr. Washington saw several patients come to her after researching their symptoms on social media. Understanding that reaching people with accurate medical information could be valuable, Dr. Washington launched the channel with a focus on preventative medicine, discussions of common conditions and effective treatment options.

“What’s been so interesting to me is that most people who are watching the videos are males and middle-aged. I was expecting more younger females, so that’s been a big surprise,” she said. “The response overall has been very positive. I’m really happy to talk to people about what good primary care looks like.”

In addition to educating patients, Dr. Washington is also working to mentor and inspire the next generation of female physicians. Several girls worked in her clinic during a recent summer, but all said they wanted to pursue a nursing career. While nurses are valuable caregivers in a noble profession, Dr. Washington said she wants girls to know that they can push themselves to become physicians as well.

“I had some girls say they didn’t think they were smart enough to be a doctor. I’m telling them that they are,” she said. “I asked one girl why she never thought about going to medical school and she said it was because nobody told her she could. I was the first Black doctor she had ever seen. That’s the mindset that I want to change. If being a doctor is what you want, you can do it if you work hard enough. It doesn’t matter what you look like.”

As she looks to the future, Dr. Washington is transitioning her medical practice into a new business model that gives patients the best possible care while also being financially sustainable for the long term. She is grateful to Hancock Whitney, who has helped her build her own practice, obtain loans for medical equipment and connect with resources to help her clinic thrive.

“I started my practice with cash money. I was clueless on the business side,” she said. “When I connected with Hancock Whitney, everything became so much easier. I had never had my own banker before and now I have a great relationship with my Hancock Whitney banker. This is my brand and having a bank that cares enough about me to support my work means the world.”

The “She Is” campaign is a partnership between Hancock Whitney and The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, The Advocate and The Acadiana Advocate to curate and share stories about women who are thriving – what motivates them, how they motivate others, and how women can continue to drive impact. Visit for more details on Hancock Whitney’s ongoing work with female leaders and to share your own favorite “She Is” story.