New Lecture Celebrates Trailblazing Surgeon
"This annual lecture will shed light on the history of health disparities, suggesting solutions to this resistant problem that negatively affects the lives of so many in the United States."
- Dr. McNeese
A newly endowed lecture event will commemorate the life of a groundbreaking central Illinois physician. The Alonzo Homer Kenniebrew Lecture on Health Disparities will be an annual discussion of health disparities and other factors that impact population health.
HSHS St. John’s Hospital and Memorial Health System are underwriting the cost of the lecture.
“Dr. Kenniebrew was a prominent, well-respected physician, and it is important that we make a point to carry out his legacy," said HSHS St. John’s President and CEO Charles L. Lucore, MD, MBA. “We feel privileged to support this lecture series in his honor related to disparities in health care."
Kenniebrew, a native of Warrior’s Point, Alabama, was the first African-American physician in the United States to build and operate a surgical hospital, the New Home Sanitarium in Jacksonville, established in 1909. At its peak in the 1920s, the New Home Hospital had 67 rooms, three laboratories, three surgeons and eight associated physicians. It served patients from 20 states and Canada.
Kennibrew founded the hospital because he could not obtain medical privileges at area hospitals. At the time, an agreement with the Sangamon County Medical Society permitted only its members to work in the hospitals, and Kennibrew’s membership requests were denied.
At SIU’s 19th annual Pearson Lecture, Wesley G. Robinson-McNeese, MD, executive assistant to the dean for diversity, multicultural and minority affairs and associate professor of internal medicine, chronicled the journey of Kenniebrew from his childhood and education in Tuskegee, Alabama, to his death in Springfield.
“This man’s life has so many inspirational elements," said Dr. McNeese. “He was the son of a former slave, a friend, colleague and personal physician to Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee, and after relocating to Illinois, he persevered despite repeated roadblocks from the Jim-Crow world of the early 20th Century."
At the Pearson Lecture, Sangamon County Medical Society President Andrew Gold, MD, presented Kenniebrew’s daughter, Charlotte Johnson, with a certificate of membership to posthumously induct Alonzo Kenniebrew into the organization.
“The accomplishments of his life deserve to be more widely known," said Dr. McNeese. “This annual lecture will shed light on the history of health disparities, suggesting solutions to this resistant problem that negatively affects the lives of so many in the United States."
The inaugural presentation will be held Tuesday, January 31, 2017.
"TakeThose Partitiions Down," an examination of the life and times of Alonzo H. Kenniebrew, MD http://bit.ly/kenniebrewvideo