Trailblazing Illinois physician dies at 75

Wesley Robinson-McNeese, MD, a trailblazing physician in diversity work, died Sept. 18 at 75, The State Journal-Register reported.

Dr. Robinson-McNeese was executive director of diversity initiatives for the Springfield-based Southern Illinois University System, where he primarily developed special projects for the school of medicine. During his tenure, he increased diversity at the school; founded its Office of Diversity, Multicultural and Minority Affairs; and helped found the Eastside Health Initiative and the Alonzo H. Kennebrew Forum in Springfield and the Metro-East Healthcare Elective.

He also collaborated with the local school district to form the Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program in 2009, which exposes underprivileged students to careers in medicine.

"Dr. McNeese was a constant pioneer at the SIU School of Medicine," Jerry Kruse, MD, dean and provost of the SIU School of Medicine, told the Journal-Register. "He performed the foundational work that has led to our declaration to become an anti-racist organization and to build the organizational structure necessary to achieve that end."

Dr. Robinson-McNeese is survived by his wife and eight children.

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