skip to content

A Doctor and His Grandmother Change the Community

Hansel Tookes III, MD and Gracie Wyche

As I walk through the Jackson Memorial Medical Center campus every day, I am proud to walk in the footsteps of my grandmother, Gracie Wyche. She was a pioneer nurse in our community who began working in the then-segregated wards of Jackson Memorial Hospital, and ultimately became a head nurse. In the 1980s, she cared for patients suffering from a mysterious illness that later became known as AIDS.

When I was just a child in the ‘80s, she took me to feed the homeless on Northwest 17th Street. This experience was my first glimpse into the devastation in our community brought on by HIV and AIDS. My work at Jackson’s HIV clinic and inpatient service was directly inspired by this experience. Having seen firsthand the effects that using dirty needles had on my patients and others in Miami-Dade, a region that tops the list for new HIV infections in the nation, I created a program where anyone can bring dirty needles in and swap them for clean ones, with the goal of drastically lowering HIV infection rates.

Today, when I walk into the IDEA Needle Exchange, I think of my grandmother and how proud she would be of my work and the opportunities I have had at Jackson.

Hansel Tookes III, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
UHealth – University of Miami Health System
Former Internal Medicine Resident, Jackson Memorial Hospital

Share

Trending Stories

Opens story page.

Mar. 2018 Employee Stories

Isabel Rivero

. Link opens story page.

Isabel Rivero, RN, BSN, brings a unique perspective to her work at the Schatzi and Stanley Kassal Project: Newborn Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Holtz Children's Hospital.

Explore in story page.
Opens story page.

Sep. 2013 Miracle Stories

Boating Accident Nearly Paralyses Young Woman

. Link opens story page.

In September 2013, Danielle Press suffered life-threatening injuries in a boating accident off the coast of Key Biscayne – the very place where her father is police chief.

Explore in story page.
Michelle McPhee Mammography Technician Taylor Breast Health Center - Roberta Orlen Chaplin Digital Breast Imaging Center Jackson Memorial Hospital Opens story page.

Jan. 2017 Employee Stories

Mammography Technician Gives Hope to Women Battling Breast Cancer

. Link opens story page.

I never got to meet my grandmother, who died of breast cancer at age 29. I grew up seeing my mother fight breast cancer, and at age 28, I felt a lump on my breast.

Explore in story page.

Copyright 2020 Jackson Health System

Jackson health System