Anne Brooks

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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.[1] Tutwiler Clinic provides health services to the poor, medically under served community.[2]

Early years[edit]

Brooks was born in Washington, D.C. in 1938. She was the only child of an alcoholic mother and a Navy captain father.[1] When she was 10, her parents divorced and her father sent her to a Catholic boarding school in Key West, Florida.[1] At the age of 11, she decided to become a nun.[1]

Brooks became a Roman Catholic nun of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in 1955 at the age of 17.[1][3] That same year, Brooks was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.[3] She was told that she would be on crutches or in a wheelchair the rest of her life.[1] Nonetheless, she attended Barry University in Miami, Florida and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education.[1] She then taught at Catholic schools in Florida, and volunteered at drug rehabilitation clinics and abused women centers, among other places.[1] While volunteering at a free clinic in 1972, she met Dr. John Upledger, who treated her for her arthritis.[1][3] 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.[1][4]

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?"[4] After returning to Michigan, she wrote letters to towns in Mississippi that might need a doctor.[4] Tutwiler was the only town that answered Brooks[4] and in the summer of 1983, she opened the Tutwiler Clinic.[2]

Tutwiler Clinic[edit]

The clinic does not have a fixed budget and accepts all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.[1] Over 75% of the clinic’s operating funds come from individual donations[5] and the clinic provides medical services, counseling services, dental services, optical services, podiatry services, education services, and outreach services.[5] 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.[5] Seventy percent of patients do not have any way of paying for their care.[6]


From 2000 to 2002, Brooks served as Chief of Staff at Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center.[7]


Brooks received an honorary degree from Michigan State University, and MSU also presented her with the MSU Distinguished Alumni Award.[8] 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.[7]

On March 12, 2005, Brooks received the American Medical Association Foundation's 2005 Pride in the Profession Award in Washington, D.C.[7] In 2009, she was a runner-up for the J.H. Kanter Prize.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 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
  2. ^ a b Catholic Online, June 3, 2003, retrieved on March 8, 2012, Sister Anne Brooks Marks 20 Years As a Doctor
  3. ^ a b c 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.
  4. ^ a b c d Spartan Sagas, Michigan State University, retrieved on March 8, 2012, Sister Anne Brooks
  5. ^ a b c Tutwiler Clinic, retrieved on March 8, 2012, at
  6. ^ Saul Gonzalez, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, PBS, September 24, 2010, retrieved on March 8, 2012, Mississippi Delta Health Care
  7. ^ a b c 2005, retrieved on March 8, 2012, Mississippi Legislature House Resolution 77
  8. ^ Pat Grauer, Alumni Profile, Michigan State University, retrieved on March 8, 2012 Sister Anne Brooks, Blooming Where She's Planted
  9. ^ Work in Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Catholic, September 18, 2009, retrieved on March 9, 2012, Sister Anne Brooks Receives Grant for On-Going