This public health lecture series is named in honor of the historic Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, the premier training ground for African American medical professionals. Although it closed its doors on August 17, 1979, we can learn much from the hospital’s history, presented by the very people who worked diligently to provide culturally sensitive care to the patients who so deeply trusted and loved them. This year’s lecture will be hybrid.
Watch a recording of the event below:
Donald M. Suggs, D.D.S. graduated with bachelor’s and doctor of dental surgery degrees from Indiana University, completing his post-graduate work at Washington University Dental School and Homer G. Phillips Hospital. He served as chief of oral surgery at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and was the first African-American to serve as an associate clinical professor at St. Louis University Dental School.
Active in the civil rights movement in the 60s and 70s, he served as chairman of the Poor People’s March-On-Washington in 1968. Later, he became founder and chairman of the African Continuum, organized to bring serious non-commercial African-American artistic endeavors to St. Louis.
He was a long-time president of the Alexander-Suggs Gallery of African Art based in St. Louis and New York City (1970-89). He is a founding member of the Center for African Art, (now the Museum of African Art in New York City) and a former member of the board of directors of the Studio Museum in New York.
Suggs currently serves on the St. Louis Art Museum Board of Commissioners and its Collections Committee. He was the first African-American to serve as president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of St. Louis.
Suggs has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Washington University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Harris-Stowe State University and Saint Louis University.
He is publisher and executive editor of the St. Louis American Newspaper, Missouri’s largest weekly newspaper.
Special dedication of Nash Way:
At the heart of the Central West End there is a street called Children’s Place, but part of that street at the center of the Washington University in St. Louis Medical campus will soon be named Nash Way. The change will honor a family whose legacy continues to define pediatric care in St. Louis. As two St. Louis pediatricians, we celebrate this well-deserved tribute as we mourn the loss of Dr. Homer Nash Jr., a consummate educator and renowned clinician whose name is synonymous with compassionate care.
The Nash family prioritized health equity by caring for the health and well-being of hundreds, if not thousands, of children in the St. Louis area.
Read the story »
The medical careers of two of his children, Helen and Homer, brought them to St. Louis and forever changed this city for the better. Dr. Helen Nash did her residency at Homer G. Phillips Hospital and was made supervisor of pediatrics the minute she finished her training. She transformed care at that hospital and in 1949 became the first African American woman to join the attending staff at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where she helped develop one of the first specialized wards for premature infants.
She fought to get the best care for her patients — and for basic recognition of their humanity. Helen was also one of the first four African American physicians on the clinical faculty of Washington University School of Medicine and later served as acting dean of minority affairs for three years after her retirement from practice. She paved the way for others to follow her, creating a scholarship for St. Louis kids looking to pursue careers in medicine.
Dr. Homer E. Nash Jr. served in the U.S. Army in Italy during World War II and received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. When he returned, he went to medical school in Nashville and then moved to St. Louis to train under his sister at Homer G. Phillips.
The Nash family has shown us what it means to take seriously the health and specific needs of all members of our community. Nash Way will honor this extraordinary family and serve as a permanent testimonial of their service.
In February, the city approved a measure renaming Children’s Place – between Euclid Avenue on the west to Taylor Avenue on the east — as Nash Way, to celebrate the accomplishments and cultural impact of Dr. Helen Nash on the St. Louis region.
Free validated parking is available in the Euclid Garage, across the street from the Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM) building or the Metro garage.
Reach out to Liz Riggs at email@example.com if you have any questions.