Born in Atlanta in the midst of the civil rights movement, Darryl J. Tookes was surrounded by the icons of the movement. Atlanta was and still is a mecca for black professionals. Tookes was influenced at an early age by the steep Atlanta African American tradition and the emphasis his parents placed on education.
Tookes was introduced to Christ at an early age by his parents and joined Liberty Baptist Church under the ministry of Dr. Melvin H. Watson. It was at home and Liberty where his earliest ideas and values were shaped. He was educated in the public schools of Atlanta. After graduating from high school in 1978, he enrolled in Morehouse College where he majored in Biology. At Morehouse he took honors division courses and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
After four years at Morehouse, Tookes entered Emory University School of Medicine. His interest in attending Emory was inspired by his desire to train at Grady Memorial Hospital. Several of his family members had received care there and his mother had been born there. Keenly aware of the superb training that Grady provided, Tookes entered medical school wanting to become a surgeon. By God’s grace he was awarded a coveted spot in the surgery residency program at Emory upon graduating from medical school. This allowed him to receive cutting edge surgical training which would include time spent at Grady.
It was during residency training that he came face to face with having to make life and death decisions. One Saturday night in 1991 when he was the trauma chief resident at Grady, he pronounced seven young men dead who were victims of violence. The most gut wrenching tasks occurred when he had to tell those families about their loved one’s demise.
In 1992 Tookes completed his general surgery residency and founded the practice, Georgia Surgical Professional Associates. The practice involved a large number of patients who had been diagnosed with cancer. Faced with dire situations that offered limited options for some patients, Tookes began to see the interconnection between spiritual health and physical health. He developed a holistic approach to medicine which included making house calls to patients who were terminally ill or bedridden. Never one to turn down a request for prayer, he began to pray for patients if they requested.
During the 1990’s the practice of medicine began to transform into the business of medicine because corporations began to take over and influence the way physicians practiced medicine. This inspired Tookes to seek a business degree. In 1999 he was awarded a Masters in Business Administration degree from Kennesaw State University.
In 1998 Georgia Surgical Professional Associates was awarded a desirable contract with Kaiser Permanent to provide surgical care to their patients on the south side of Atlanta. In 2004 Kaiser awarded Tookes the Community Consultant of the Year award. Because of the care that Tookes provided their patients, Kaiser invited Tookes to join them as a fulltime employee in 2005. Tookes made the difficult decision to close Georgia Surgical Professional Associates and become a full time employed general surgeon for Kaiser in 2006.
Dr. Tookes entered the ministry in 2009 and is presently enrolled at Candler School of Theology. Even though he entered the ministry later than most of his classmates, his passion for learning has always existed. Tookes joined Providence Missionary Baptist Church seven years ago under the ministry of Reverend Doctor Gerald Durley.
As an avid reader and swimmer, Tookes has been able to find a happy medium between work and play. He is a life member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity and received the Atlanta Medical Association’s Young Physician of the Year award in 1993. He served as chief of General and Colorectal Surgery at Piedmont Hospital from 2006 until 2010. He is also a member of the National Medical Association and the Medical Association of Georgia.
Presently, he serves on the board of directors of the Emory University School of Medicine Alumni Association and the Sadie G. Mays Nursing Home. Dr. Tookes is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the Southeastern Surgical Congress. He is on the staffs of Piedmont Hospital and Northside Hospital.
His wife, Venus, works for Delta Airlines and is also a member of Providence Missionary Baptist Church.