A Democratic candidate for the Maine state legislature has listed herself as a medical doctor on campaign materials — even though her medical license was revoked a decade ago.
Heidi Brooks used the initial “M.D.” in mailers sent out during her run for the House District 61 seat in Lewiston, the Maine Sun Journal reported recently.
But after a check of her occupational history, the Sun Journal found that Brooks has not been licensed to practice medicine in Maine since 2004.
“According to the state’s Board of Licensure in Medicine, her license was revoked in 2004 and her application for renewal was denied the following year based on personal health issues, substance abuse and her ‘lack of medical practice for a considerable amount of time,'” the Sun Journal reported.
Maine state law prohibits people who do not have a medical license from using the initials “M.D.” — even for people who have earned medical degrees. Improper use of the initials is a class E misdemeanor. Brooks earned her medical degree in 1996 from the New York Medical College.
Brooks has listed herself as a medical doctor in other campaign materials and in her title for the boards and committees on which she sits, the Sun Journal found.
One such board is the progressive Maine People’s Alliance.
Furthermore, Brooks responded to a Sun Journal candidate questionnaire and listed herself as a physician.
“I never intended to mislead anyone about my experience as a doctor. I’m sorry if that has been unclear,” Brooks said in a statement to the Sun Journal.
“I practiced medicine before facing significant struggles with my own mental illness 10 years ago,” she said. “Since overcoming my personal battles, I have been a patient advocate and community volunteer.”
Brooks also said that she is “very proud of my medical degree and the hard work it took to get,” according to the Sun Journal. “As a former physician and as someone who has struggled with mental illness…I will fight for health care for more Maine families in Augusta because I know firsthand how hard it is to be sick and face mounting medical bills.”
Brooks’ claimed occupation has been cited by supporters as a reason to vote for her, according to the Sun Journal.
A group called Emerge Maine cited Brooks’ stated occupation, saying that her job would give her insight into the battle to expand health coverage.
“In her capacity as a physician (Brooks) believes that health care is a basic human right and has seen firsthand the consequences of not providing health care early enough to prevent illness,” Emerge Maine stated in its award announcement.
Maine is currently locked in a battle over whether to expand Medicaid. Republicans, including Gov. Paul LePage, generally oppose expansion.