Kenniebrew events on February 8-9 to encourage health equity
Each February, SIU School of Medicine hosts a series of events to honor Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew, the first Black physician in the United States to build and operate a private surgical hospital. In 2023 the Kenniebrew Lecture and Forum was expanded to include an all-day medical conference. This year, that gathering is being renamed to honor the late Dr. Wesley Robinson-McNeese, the former SIU System executive director for diversity initiatives and a pioneer at SIU School of Medicine. The Kenniebrew-McNeese Conference will conclude the two days of events on February 9.
“Both Dr. Kenniebrew and Dr. McNeese were trailblazers and humanitarians in central Illinois,” said Dr. Wendi Wills El-Amin, associate dean for equity, diversity and inclusion at SIU School of Medicine. “We need to continue to co-create strategies with our communities so that they can thrive.”
Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis will be the featured speaker and visiting professor for the week. She is executive director of the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences (UAMS) Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She is also a tenured professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (UAMS) and division director for reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Richard-Davis will deliver the Kenniebrew Lecture at 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, February 8, at the Memorial Learning Center (MLC), 228 West Miller St., Springfield, IL.
The Community Forum will be held at the MLC on Thursday morning, February 8. The forum provides an opportunity for community members to have an open conversation about trust, race and health. The gathering begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast in the Nelson Family Auditorium. The program starts at 9 a.m. Area activists, social service providers and the general public are invited to attend.
The Kenniebrew-McNeese Medical Conference will be held from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Friday, February 9, also at the MLC. It is designed for medical professionals and community members, with the theme ‘On the Shoulders of Giants.’ Opening and closing plenary speakers, a panel lunch discussion and numerous breakout sessions will offer information and insights on ways to make health care more accessible and improve outcomes for underserved populations. Conference registration and details can be found here. Guests should register by February 5.
The lecture and community forum are open to the general public. HSHS St. John’s Hospital, Memorial Health System and the SIU Foundation are underwriting the cost of the annual Kenniebrew events.