Author of ‘Just Medicine’ to speak on racial bias in health care

Bill Petros Photography

Implicit bias is the single most important determinant of health and health care disparities, argues author and lawyer Dayna Bowen Matthew. She will address questions of race, inequality and health care at the 2nd Annual Alonzo Homer Kenniebrew, MD, Presentation on Health Inequities and Disparities. The address is part of an annual discussion of health disparities and other factors that impact population health, and the concluding event of Black History Month activities at SIU School of Medicine.

The event begins with light refreshments at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27, in the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation’s Nelson Family Auditorium, 228 W. Miller St., Springfield. The presentation is free and open to the public. A book signing will conclude the evening. Parking is available in the three-level parking deck immediately south of MCLI and an adjacent surface lot behind the building.

Matthew is author of “Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care,” and a law professor from the University of Virginia who has taken on many public policy and advocacy roles. In 2013 she co-founded the Colorado Health Equity Project, a medical-legal partnership incubator aimed at removing barriers to good health for low-income clients.

The presentation is named after Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew, the first African-American physician in the United States to build and operate a private surgical hospital. The New Home Sanitarium in Jacksonville, Illinois was established in 1909. Kenniebrew founded the hospital because he was refused admitting privileges at area hospitals.

One week after the presentation, a community forum on health inequities will be held from 9 – 11 a.m. on March 6 at HSHS St. John’s Hospital Dove Conference Center in Prairie Heart Institute, 619 E. Mason St. The forum will focus on community asset mapping with key partners, strengthening partnerships and uncovering solutions. HSHS St. John’s Hospital, Memorial Health System and the SIU Foundation are underwriting the cost of the annual forum.

“The presentation and community forum honor the legacy of Dr. Kenniebrew as a trailblazer and humanitarian in the region and continue his work of fighting inequities,” said Wendi El-Amin, MD, associate dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at SIU School of Medicine.

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