Sunny Nakae -Kenniebrew

Lecture & forum to focus on how to become an equity ally

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SPRINGFIELD, IL – At work or in public, we sometimes witness microaggressions, disrespect, and racism directed at others. When something happens that goes against our values, there is often palpable discomfort, fear and uncertainty about what to do.

Sunny Nakae, MSW, PhD, will offer skills and strategies for addressing these encounters at the 2022 Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew Lecture, beginning at 6 pm, Tuesday, February 8. Nakae is senior associate dean for equity, inclusion, diversity and partnership at the California University of Science and Medicine. “Becoming an Ally” is the theme of the 2022 Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew Lecture and Forum virtual events.
Nakae will discuss the importance of allies in combating and correcting injustice and mistreatment in the workplace, in institutions and in the public sphere.

“Understanding how identity shapes lived experiences and learning to disrupt harmful norms  is key to building bridges between individuals and groups,” Nakae says. “We can step up in these moments in ways that safeguard ourselves and our colleagues from further harm,” she says.

The morning after the presentation, SIU School of Medicine will host a forum to expand on the topic. Kerri Michelle Lockhart, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center and Rush University Medical Group, and SIU medical school alumni (2010), will act as moderator. The virtual forum begins at 9 am, February 9.

The Alonzo Homer Kenniebrew, MD Forum on Health Inequities and Disparities will provide an outlet for community members to have an open and honest conversation about trust, race and health. Guests will work together to recommend actionable solutions and strengthen community partnerships. HSHS St. John’s Hospital, Memorial Health System and the SIU Foundation are underwriting the cost of the annual forum. Area activists, social service providers and the general public are invited.

The events are named after 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. Dr. Kenniebrew founded the hospital because he was refused admitting privileges at area hospitals.

“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.

Guests can contact Malisa Cruz, to register for the forum. Register for the lecture at (Under Learners, click on Conferences.)

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