Dr. Barney Brooks was born on December 17, 1884, on a cattle ranch in Jack County, Texas. After graduating from the University of Texas with a B.S. degree in 1905, he taught high school science for two years to obtain money to attend Johns Hopkins Medical School. In 1911 he received his M.D. degree, ranking fifth in his class and took a surgical internship under Dr. William S. Halsted’s service at Hopkins.
He completed his surgical residency at Barnes Hospital, Washington University School in St. Louis. In 1917 he was appointed to the full-time faculty at Washington University School of Medicine where he rose from the rank of teacher in surgery to associate professor. Dr. Brooks made a number of basic research contributions, the most outstanding of which are concerned with regeneration of bone, intestinal obstruction, Volkmann’s contracture and the first arteriograms done in the country.
In 1925 he was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Vanderbilt University Hospital. At Vanderbilt, it is generally agreed, his major contribution was the training of surgical residents and students. He introduced his famous Amphitheater Clinic in which medical students were called down to answer questions relating to the case being presented. The intensity of being in the moment was an unforgettable experience for his students. His biting and incisive manner in conducting his surgical clinics is still the topic of conversation whenever his residents and students get together.
Dr. Brooks died on March 30, 1952. He was an internationally known and respected medical educator. The Lectureship was established as a fitting memorial, to which additional honors have come from the distinguished surgeons who have shared this lectureship over the last 60 years.