For much of her life Anne Brooks, DO, was a patient, and then she became a doctor, and through her journey learned what caring is all about. Brooks is a Roman Catholic nun and 72 years old, and works in Tutwiler, MS, an impoverished flat country of cotton and blues near the Mississippi Delta. Many of her patients cannot pay, are "incredibly sick," and wouldn't have a clue what a wellness program is. Those stricken with diabetes, have "their minds blasted with sugar," she says.
"We are dealing with a lot of sick people," says Brooks, an osteopathic physician. "It's challenging."
Oh, and one other thing: "It's a lot of fun," she says.
Brooks and I were on the phone the other day, and she expressed her unwavering love of patient care, as well as the terrific need to bridge the gap between poverty and healthcare policy. And she discussed her constant pitches for donations, as well as her venture into the land of electronic medical records. As a CEO of a health clinic in town, it's something she just has to do.
Anne Eurcharistia (which means thanksgiving in Greek) Brooks became a nun with the Sisters of Holy Name of Jesus and Mary at age 17, and within seven years was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She lived with a back brace and wheelchair for the next 17 years.