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Diversity Lecture to Highlight Link Between Medical Education, Patient Health

Published Date:

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is hosting an inaugural lecture to commemorate the life of a groundbreaking central Illinois physician. The lecture is part of the Alonzo Homer Kenniebrew, MD Forum on Health Inequities and Disparities, a new annual discussion of health disparities and other factors that impact population health. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Kendall Campbell, MD, will deliver the keynote address from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31. His presentation, “Promoting Equity for Faculty in Academic Medicine,” will be held in the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation’s M.G. Nelson Family Auditorium, 228 W. Miller, Springfield.

Campbell is the associate dean for diversity and inclusion and director of the Research Group for Underrepresented Minorities in Academic Medicine at East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. His talk will outline reasons for underrepresentation of minority instructors in medical schools, show how this affects health disparities and identify potential solutions.

Kenniebrew, a native of Warrior’s Point, Ala., was the first African-American physician in the United States to build and operate a private surgical hospital, the New Home Sanitarium in Jacksonville, Ill., established in 1909. Kenniebrew founded the hospital because he could not obtain admitting privileges at area hospitals.

“Dr. Kenniebrew’s life has so many inspirational elements,” said Wesley McNeese, MD, associate dean for diversity and inclusion at SIU School of Medicine. “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.”

HSHS St. John’s Hospital, Memorial Health System and the SIU Foundation are underwriting the cost of the annual presentation.

“During a time of segregation, Dr. Kenniebrew was steadfast in his pursuit of health equity and equality,” said HSHS St. John’s President and CEO Charles L. Lucore, MD, MBA. “We are privileged to support this forum in his honor, advancing his vision to find solutions to disparities in health and health care.” 

“Memorial is pleased to help support this forum series to recognize the contributions of Dr. Kenniebrew, as well as explore the topic of health care disparity that is a priority in our nation and community,” said Edgar J. Curtis, president and CEO of Memorial Health System.

For more information about Dr. Alonzo Kennibrew and the Forum on Health Inequities and Disparities, visit

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