SIU Expands Annual Event Honoring Jacksonville Physician

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 11, 2023 at 11:39am

The SIU School of Medicine’s annual Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew Lecture and Forum kicks off this upcoming week in Springfield.

Each February, SIU School of Medicine hosts a series of events to honor Dr. Kenniebrew, who was the first Black physician in the United States to build and operate a private surgical hospital, which was located at 323 West Morgan Street, in Jacksonville, from 1909 to 1927.

Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew

The annual event has now expanded to include an all-day medical conference. According to the announcement by SIU School of Medicine officials, the inaugural Kenniebrew Medical Conference will be held from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday, February 17. It is designed for medical professionals, with the theme ‘The Hope and Promise of Co-liberation Work.’

The conference events will offer information and insights on ways to make health care more accessible and improve outcomes for underserved populations.

The lecture and forum portions are open to the general public. Dr. Ann-Gel Palermo is the featured lecture speaker and visiting professor for the week. Dr. Palermo is the senior associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.

She will deliver the Kenniebrew Lecture entitled ‘Awareness to Action: Reimagining Strategies to Achieve Health Equity,’ at 5:30 – 7 p.m. Thursday, February 16, at the Memorial Learning Center, 228 West Miller St., Springfield.

The Kenniebrew Forum will be held at the same location on Saturday morning, February 18. The forum gives community members an opportunity to have an open conversation about trust, race, and health.

SIU officials say these topics are again prominent in the Springfield area following the death of Earl Moore Jr. while in the care of EMT workers. The gathering begins at 9 a.m. in the Nelson Family Auditorium of the MLC. Area activists, social service providers, and the general public are invited to attend.

To register for the conference and forum, contact

A mural in downtown Jacksonville was dedicated last June to honor Dr. Kinniebrew. It is located on the east-facing side of the Lincoln Land Community College satellite campus building along North Main Street.