Anne Brooks D.O. is an osteopathic physician and a Roman Catholic nun who is CEO of Tutwiler Clinic, a non-profit entity in Tutwiler, Mississippi located in Tallahatchie County, which is in the middle of the Mississippi Delta. Tutwiler Clinic provides health services to the poor, medically under served community.
Brooks was born in Washington, D.C. in 1938. She was the only child of an alcoholic mother and a Navy captain father. When she was 10, her parents divorced and her father sent her to a Catholic boarding school in Key West, Florida. At the age of 11, she decided to become a nun.
Brooks became a Roman Catholic nun of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in 1955 at the age of 17. That same year, Brooks was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She was told that she would be on crutches or in a wheelchair the rest of her life. Nonetheless, she attended Barry University in Miami, Florida and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. She then taught at Catholic schools in Florida, and volunteered at drug rehabilitation clinics and abused women centers, among other places. While volunteering at a free clinic in 1972, she met Dr. John Upledger, who treated her for her arthritis. Inspired by Dr. Upledger, and at his urging, Brooks started medical school at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the age of 40, finishing in 1982.
During her fourth year of medical studies, Brooks took a month off and traveled to Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi, because according to her, "there were a couple of things I wanted to know. One of them was how as a nun, with a vow of poverty, how do I run a practice?" After returning to Michigan, she wrote letters to towns in Mississippi that might need a doctor. Tutwiler was the only town that answered Brooks and in the summer of 1983, she opened the Tutwiler Clinic.
The clinic does not have a fixed budget and accepts all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Over 75% of the clinic’s operating funds come from individual donations and the clinic provides medical services, counseling services, dental services, optical services, podiatry services, education services, and outreach services. Over two thirds of the clinic's patients do not have any type of public or private insurance coverage, and statistics show that the median household income in the county is $18,800 per year. Seventy percent of patients do not have any way of paying for their care.
From 2000 to 2002, Brooks served as Chief of Staff at Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center.
Brooks received an honorary degree from Michigan State University, and MSU also presented her with the MSU Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition, Brooks received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Outstanding Commitment and Devotion to Serving Humanity Award from the Tallahatchie Development League.
- Bill Shaw, People Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 12, March 23, 1987, retrieved on March 8, 2012, Sister Anne Brooks, Doctor and Nun, Practices Without Preaching to the Poor
- Catholic Online, June 3, 2003, retrieved on March 8, 2012, Sister Anne Brooks Marks 20 Years As a Doctor
- Donald C. Carlson and Erin N. Syers, Journal of the Student National Medical Association, September 17, 2010, retrieved on March 8, 2012, I am SNMA: Sister Anne Brooks, D.O.
- Spartan Sagas, Michigan State University, retrieved on March 8, 2012, Sister Anne Brooks
- Tutwiler Clinic, retrieved on March 8, 2012, at http://tutwilerclinic.org/index.html
- Saul Gonzalez, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, PBS, September 24, 2010, retrieved on March 8, 2012, Mississippi Delta Health Care
- 2005, retrieved on March 8, 2012, Mississippi Legislature House Resolution 77
- Pat Grauer, Alumni Profile, Michigan State University, retrieved on March 8, 2012 Sister Anne Brooks, Blooming Where She's Planted
- Work in Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Catholic, September 18, 2009, retrieved on March 9, 2012, Sister Anne Brooks Receives Grant for On-Going