This annual 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 this historic hospital closed its doors on August 17, 1979, we can learn much from its history, presented by the very people who worked diligently to provide culturally sensitive care to the patients who so deeply trusted and loved them.

From left, Dr. Will Ross, Dr. Nathaniel Murdoch, and Brenda Battle, following the Homer G. Phillips Public Health Lecture.


Healthcare advocate Brenda Battle keynotes Homer G. Phillips Lecture »
Brenda Battle returned to St. Louis to deliver the keynote address, offering a stirring message urging the region to reduce its healthcare disparities.

Anchoring Communities: A Roadmap to Equity and Transformation in Marginalized Communities

Friday, October 6, 2023 | 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Washington University School of Medicine, Eric P. Newman Education Center (EPNEC)

2023 Homer G. Phillips public health lecture recording

Guest Speaker

Brenda Battle, RN, BSN, MBA
Senior Vice President for Community Transformation and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, University of Chicago Medicine

Brenda Battle is an industry leader in health equity with a successful history of executing strategies that result in incremental and systemic change toward improving the health and wellness of vulnerable populations. Brenda is a national speaker on health equity and reducing health disparities, and has several publications.

Brenda serves as Senior Vice President for Community Health Transformation and Chief Equity Officer for The University of Chicago Medicine Health System where she designs and oversees UCM’s community-health transformation and equity strategies; develops and implements coordinated, innovative healthcare, social and economic solutions to address the social determinants of health and reduce inequities for communities and populations served by UCM;  and fosters innovation in UCM’s care delivery system by crafting care models and systems that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Brenda leads efforts to integrate the resources and strategies of the UChicago Medicine and the broader University of Chicago enterprise with the assets and resources of the community to meet the healthcare needs of communities within UCM’s catchment area.

Brenda also oversees the Urban Health Initiative (UHI), UCM’s community health division focused on bridging the relationship between UCM and the communities it serves, and serving as connectors and facilitators of lasting, essential relationships between key stakeholders across the Chicagoland and Illinois regions to achieve better health outcomes for communities served by the UCM Health system. Battle is responsible for executing the UHI’s framework for asset based community development, co-designing programs with the community and forging partnerships, allowing the value of UCM’s globally leading research and care for the community.

Prior to joining the UCM, Brenda was the Founding director of the Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO, were she developed and implemented Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s strategy for diversity, equity, inclusion and community benefit.

Brenda has over 38 years of health care experience, serving as Executive Vice President, Government and Community Affairs for Medical Transportation Management (MTM), Inc. (St. Louis, Mo.), and leading operations in commercial and Medicaid managed care.

Brenda has served on several boards in St. Louis, Missouri in the past, and now serves on the Board of Directors of the Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Cara Collective, The South Side Health Community Organization, and America’s Essential Hospitals Institute (Washington, D.C.).   


Nathaniel Murdock, MD
Board-certified Obstetrician Gynecologist, retired

Dr. Nathaniel Hawthore Murdock, Jr. is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with over 50 years of experience in the medical field.  In practice for more than 50 years, Dr. Murdock gave unselfishly to his community and his colleagues in medicine.

Dr. Murdock served on the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine for more than 45 years, and in leadership roles with the Mound City Medical Forum, the National Medical Association, the St. Louis Gynecological Society, and others. He joined the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society in 1969 and served as president in 2001, and was an alternate delegate to the American Medical Association since 2002.

In 1997 Dr. Murdock was elected president of the National Medical Association, the largest group of minority physicians in the United States, where he spent most of his time testifying before Congress and working with the 22,000 physicians the NMA serves. In 1998, in the publication HealthQuest, Dr. Murdock argued against the Proposition 209 in California which banned racial and ethnic preferences.  He stated: “With a growing population of people of color, we need more black doctors. It makes a big difference to your health to have someone take care of you who’s culturally sensitive, who may have had the same experiences you’ve had. ” In 2015 Dr. Murdock, MD, received the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society’s highest honor, the Robert E. Schlueter Leadership Award. The award was created in 1985, and Dr. Murdock received the award based on very specific criteria of leadership, scientific attitude, advocacy and community service, and for long-standing contributions to medicine that are above and beyond the norm.

Dr. Murdock’s contributions have also extended far into the St. Louis community, on the boards or as chief of medicine or a volunteer physician for numerous community health centers. Long active in civic, religious and philanthropic activities, he and his wife Sandra Murdock served as chairs of the 2005 United Way’s Charmaine Chapman Society. He is a life member of the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He received the NAACP Community Service Award in 2013, is an active member of the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity, and was named a Trailblazer of St. Louis by the Royal Vagabonds Foundation, Inc.

Born in Texas, Dr. Murdock obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1958 from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and a medical degree in 1963 from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. After further training at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis and two years as an Air Force captain, he joined the Washington University faculty in 1969, starting as a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology. He and his wife Sandra have two children, Lisa and Kenneth Murdock.

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