January 18, 2018

Spirit of MLK Award Winner Leaves Her “Heartprint” on the Lives of Many

On January 17, Mission Health and MAHEC recognized team members at the 2018 Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Ceremony who carry on Dr. King’s spirit, leadership and vision to influence unity, equality, equity and justice in both the workplace and their communities. The annual awards ceremony is a partnership between Mission Health and MAHEC that celebrates diversity and inclusion in healthcare.

You may recognize Mission Health’s award recipient, Brooks Ann McKinney, who “has dedicated her life and career to meeting the homeless where they are, creating future possibilities for those without a future while embracing diversity and inclusiveness as an opportunity for a better world.”

Brooks Ann has focused on the medically and mentally fragile, homeless and underserved individuals for nearly 20 years as a strong advocate for improving our population’s access to healthcare and resources throughout these communities. The director of vulnerable populations and SNP relations in Mission Hospital’s Care Management department speaks to the needs of these members of our community in presentations and workshops to educate and enlighten others to the reality of their situations. It’s not hard to spot Brooks Ann out and about – a caring advocate who does not shrink back from the people who are homeless or mentally ill, and is always sharing smiles and encouraging words for these people who are often invisible to the rest of us.

When often passersby might avoid the homeless, Brooks Ann sees beyond the individual standing on the corner holding a sign for food and works to provide a way out and ensures they are treated with dignity. Recently, she was escorting some police officers on their off time to help them understand how to connect with the homeless when a man came up and recognized Brooks Ann by her name and said, “Look, I got my teeth!”

Brooks Ann understands the individual’s worry on how to get a job without a home, without basic needs being met, without family support or sometimes sleeping in their car. She has left her “heartprint” on the lives of so many, showing deep respect and compassion with each touch while sharing her knowledge and passion with our community partners in order to make a difference.

Click here to watch the event, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Danny Avula and musical performances by the Mission-MAHEC choir.

To learn more about diversity, inclusion and health equity at Mission Health, visit mission-health.org/diversity.