Medical wing at James River Juvenile Detention Center named after Dr. Richard Brookman to honor his expert, compassionate care of incarcerated youth
June 03, 2022
CHoR's Dr. Richard Brookman stands next to the sign for the Brookman Medical Wing

    Medical wing at James River Juvenile Detention Center named after Dr. Richard Brookman to honor his expert, compassionate care of incarcerated youth

    Dr. Richard Brookman has dedicated more than 50 years to the health and wellbeing of young people. Twenty-one of those years have included caring for adolescents in the Henrico and James River Juvenile Detention Centers. Now, the medical wing at JRJDC has been named the Brookman Medical Wing in his honor.

    Health care for ALL adolescents and young adults

    During Dr. Brookman’s residency training at Montefiore Hospital, he spent a month working at the New York City Juvenile Detention Center. After he began his career and moved to Richmond in 1980, he was contacted by the superintendent of Henrico County Juvenile Detention to see if he’d be willing to provide medical care to the youth there. He then signed on as medical director of JRJDC in January 2001 and has served both ever since.

    Youth in juvenile detention centers often are medically underserved and get most of their health care only when in detention.

    “I’m passionate about providing health care to adolescents and young adults no matter in what setting, but I’ve learned how fragmented and inconsistent health care can be for this specific youth population,” said Dr. Brookman. “They often come from families who have resistance to or lack resources to ensure the best health care for their children. I have learned the considerable extent of substance use in this population. I have learned that the majority of youth who end up in the corrections system have mental health diagnoses and often inadequate treatment and follow-up.”

    Sharing knowledge and expertise, encouraging a healthier future

    This care is above and beyond what Dr. Brookman provides as an adolescent medicine physician and professor at CHoR. Because he’s not in the juvenile detention setting full time, he gives special attention to teaching the nurses and advising the facilities’ administrators and staff across a range of health issues – public health, infection control, nutrition, mental health, dental health and overall health care. His hope is that, as a team, they can address some of the unmet health needs and encourage the youth and their parents to take control and responsibility for their health after their time in detention.

    “Dr. Brookman has devoted his life to improving the health and wellness of children,” said Michael Martin, current superintendent of JRJDC. “His passion for helping children exceeds his concerns for himself.”

    On March 30, 2002, the medical wing at JRJDC was dedicated to Dr. Brookman in appreciation of this passion and devotion.

    “At CHoR, the health of all kids is our number one priority. Dr. Brookman carries this mission into the community and has been improving lives for decades with his care, education and expertise,” said Dr. Karen Hendricks-Muñoz, interim physician-in-chief. “I’m proud to call him my colleague and congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”

    During the hours here and there when Dr. Brookman isn’t caring for kids and young adults, you’re likely to find him playing the piano, reading history, doing difficult crossword puzzles (in ink!), browsing an antique mall or doing yard work.

    Read more about Dr. Brookman’s career and dedication to his colleagues, patients and profession.

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