history of Arizona's physicians is rich in mystery,
controversy, innovation and pride. Since the
settlers first inhabited the territory, physicians
have been a part of Arizona's legacy. They helped
shape the culture of this Great State and set
the standard for the quality of care delivered
to its citizens. The Physicians of Interest
page on this website highlights the historical
work of Arizona's physicians and the roles they
played while shaping the State's future. The
biography of a new physician will be added each
month and in time, the page will represent a
patchwork of the names and faces that brought
medicine in Arizona to life.
Jack E. Brooks, M.D.
With connections ranging from the Los Alamos Atomic Bomb project to famed singer Sammy Davis Jr., Jack E. Brooks, M.D. gave his best to the medical profession by leaving his successful practice to oversee the establishment of Arizona's first physician owned mutual insurance company.
Shortly after graduating from the University of Illinois College of Medicine and completing an internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Dr. Brooks joined the United States Army. He was assigned to the Los Alamos Atomic Bomb project, in charge of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Department of the Los Alamos Hospital. His competence and success at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory gained him access to classified activities and promotion to Post Surgeon and Commanding Officer of the hospital. He later returned as a civilian to work in the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Department.
He later moved to Arizona and set up his private practice in Phoenix. While operating his busy office and serving on several executive committees for organizations such as the Health Planning Council and Good Samaritan and St. Joseph's hospitals, he received a call from a famous "Rat Pack" member, Sammy Davis Jr. When he was in town for a performance, Davis suffered from a case of laryngitis. Dr. Brooks gave him the same advice as another doctor - "take a voice rest and relax."
One year later, in 1976, it seemed like the fun was over as Arizona physicians received a major shock. The only medical malpractice insurance company in Arizona presented physicians with a 30-day notice announcing complete withdrawal from the state, leaving them without medical malpractice coverage. Dr. Brooks was conscripted to mobilize the critical forces needed to pursue a comprehensive tort reform package during a special session of the Arizona State Legislature, called specifically to deal with this crisis.
Unlike any other issue facing the State before, the issue of medical malpractice was completely alien to legislators. Additionally, intense lobbying ensued against medical malpractice reform by plaintiff's attorneys. Dr. Brooks rose to the challenge and through his dedication, attention to detail, and credibility as a physician, was able to catalyze passage of legislation which alleviated the immediate crisis of malpractice insurance availability and paved the way for the establishment of the Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona (MICA). Dr. Brooks served as the President of MICA from 1976 to 1989. After his retirement, Dr. Brooks actively supported MICA as it transitioned to new leadership.
Dr. Brooks was honored by the Maricopa County Medical Society with its 1963 Joseph Bank Medal for his pioneering effort to establish the Health Planning Council. The Society also awarded him the 1971 Salsbury Medal for outstanding contributions to helping the community and for the development of the Maricopa Foundation for Medical Care.