Honoring Health Care Visionary J. Brooks Brown, MD

50 Year Anniversary

Jan 23, 2020

Dr. J. Brooks Brown was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal in celebration of Brooks Rehabilitation’s 50th Anniversary. The following content is from the Wall Street Journal.

Brooks Rehabilitation, a national leader and comprehensive source for physical rehabilitation services, is celebrating 50 years in 2020. As a nonprofit organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., Brooks cares for more than 55,000 patients annually. The tremendous growth and excellent care it provides began with a vision from its namesake, J. Brooks Brown, MD.

Transformational leader Dr. Brown was a risk taker, an innovator, a civic leader and philanthropist who was committed to improving North Florida’s quality of life. He was a general and thoracic surgeon by trade. A growing population and a shortage of hospital beds in Jacksonville was the catalyst for him and fellow physicians to construct Memorial Hospital in 1969. In the early 1980s, Dr. Brown identified the need and acquired bed licenses from Cathedral Rehabilitation, formed in 1970. He was passionate about advancing health care and led an effort to build a freestanding, nonprofit rehabilitation hospital that opened in 1994, ultimately named Brooks Rehabilitation in honor of Dr. Brown. He served as its president and CEO through 2002 and on its board through 2005.

Dr. Brown’s vision and values continue to influence Brooks today. As a strategic thinker, he believed change was the only constant, and in turn, inspired others to embrace new ideas and innovation. Understanding the importance of testing new treatment options, a commitment to research and technology and successfully thriving in a changing market, his efforts directly influenced Brooks’ commitment to patient care. Brooks Rehabilitation demonstrates excellence in patient care through innovation, integrity, high-level patient experiences and outcomes, compassion, teamwork, accountability and continuous learning.

This comprehensive approach to care is fundamental to the Brooks organization today. Its post-acute healthcare services include: one of the nation’s largest and busiest inpatient rehabilitation hospitals in the U.S. with 160 beds, one of the region’s largest home healthcare agencies, 39 outpatient therapy clinics, a Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation in partnership with Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, a medical group, two skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, memory care and research. Development is underway for of an additional, state-of-the-art, 60-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital that will open in 2022 in the Jacksonville area.

As a nonprofit system, Brooks is dedicated to meeting the needs and improving the health of the entire community by providing charity care, research, community health programs and supporting the education of health care professionals. Through partnerships with area nonprofit community and health organizations, Brooks increases extraordinary care options for adults and children with physical disabilities.

“We have invested in and grown our community programs that are as robust as any in the country. These include our Neuro Recovery Centers, the Brain Injury Clubhouse, the Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program, the Aphasia Center, wellness programs, support groups and more. These keep people engaged – physically, psychologically and socially – and are all part of the whole system of care,” said Doug Baer, Brooks Rehabilitation CEO. “The whole system of care is a theory derived by Dr. Brown from medicine for business. He believed that the ‘system of care’ a person needs should include prevention, recovery and rehabilitation.”

Upon Dr. Brown’s passing in 2018, Baer said, “Dr. Brown was a wonderful mentor and friend to me. He was always humble, a true servant leader and an inspiration to all who were privileged to know him. His commitment to advanced therapy and medical care, along with the compassion, motivation and hope still guide our organization. I know he is proud of the wonderful work we are doing here at Brooks. His vision will live on through all of us.”