Law or Medicine? Why Not Both?

We’re highlighting our Class of 2024 students in advance of Commencement 2024 on May 11. Stay connected with the Miller School of Medicine on social media for more student profiles and to follow along for live Commencement coverage.

Medical student Jordan Brooks.

Jordan Adonis Brooks, a 32-year-old from rural Mount Vernon, Ohio, is poised to achieve a remarkable feat.

He will be the sole student in his medical school class to graduate with both a J.D. from the University of Miami College of Law and an M.D. from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and the first Black MD/JD and third person ever to graduate with a MD/JD at UM.

Changing the System

Growing up, Brooks witnessed firsthand the adverse impact a lack of health care access can cause and vowed to help reform the system.

“Rural towns have a lot of health disparities compared to cities,” he said. “And being Black can worsen those disparities. Watching my parents, who had chronic diseases, struggle to get the appropriate specialist care they needed for their conditions was very difficult.”

His parents had to drive more than an hour to reach medical specialists, who often offered limited solutions to addressing their health issues. These experiences ignited Brooks’ determination to delve into health care reform.

“Watching their struggles and the struggles of many families made me want to really understand how to improve the health care system for families like our own,” he said.

Even during his high school years, Brooks wanted to make a positive impact on the world. He chose to attend nearby Kenyon College to remain close to his family after his mother’s passing and to lay the groundwork for his future legal studies. Sparked by his mother’s battle with multiple sclerosis, he pursued a degree in neuroscience.

“I had never really understood what the nervous system was and I was blown away when I learned of the incredible things that it does,” he said. “That’s what made me want to go to med school.”

Learning Health Care System Fundamentals

Brooks said that learning about all the social determinants of health outcomes and how businesses significantly influence how health care is delivered steered his educational journey. This focus is ultimately what attracted him to the Miller School, which places a strong emphasis on educating students about social determinants of health.

“Understanding public health and health law has revolutionized my understanding of medicine and paved the way for me to serve as a bridge between health care providers, attorneys and administration in the health management and policy space,” Brooks said.

With his unique blend of medical and legal expertise, Brooks aims to champion health equity for marginalized communities on both national and international fronts. Upon graduation, he will start working at Boston Consulting Group, with an emphasis on health care, life sciences and social impact management consulting.

Tags: commencement, commencement 2024, medical education, medical students, student research