Robert H. Hackler was born on January 8, 1934 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His father was a physician and practiced in Walnut Grove, North Carolina. He received an AB in Chemistry and a MD from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He served his internship at George Washington University Hospital and was an assistant resident in General Surgery at the District of Columbia General Hospital.
Dr. Hackler joined Dr. R. Carl Bunts and began his residency in Urology at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Administration Hospital. During Dr. Hackler’s residency, the urology program under the leadership of Dr. Bunts merged with the Urology program at the Medical College of Virginia under Dr. George R. Prout, Jr.. Dr. Hackler was one of the first residents to finish the combined urology program in 1965. Dr. Hackler served a four-month fellowship in the Division of Renal Medicine before becoming Chief of Urology at the US Air Force Hospital in Orlando, Florida.
After spending two years as Chief of Urology at the 1360 USAF Hospital in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Hackler went into private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. He became an Assistant Professor of Urology at the Medical College of Virginia and Staff Urologist at the McGuire VA Hospital in 1970. In 1973, after Dr. Bunts’ retirement, Dr. Hackler became Chief of Urology at McGuire VA Hospital. He was promoted to Associate Professor of Urology in 1976 and served as Interim Chairman of the Division of Urology at the Medical College of Virginia from 1998 through 1999.
Dr. Hackler’s research interests followed his mentor Dr. Bunts in the urological and medical treatment of the spinal cord injured patients. Dr. Hackler has more than 60 publications and most have been investigations in neurourology.
NOTE 2015: Dr. Hackler passed away in October 2014 after a very courageous fight against metastatic prostate cancer. In his honor, and now memory, the Division of Urology has created the Dr. Robert Hardin Hackler Prostate Cancer Research Fund that will be used to further ongoing research into the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer.