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Picture of Richard Allen Williams, M.D.
Richard Allen Williams, M.D.: Biography

Richard Allen Williams, M.D., is a prolific cardiologist renowned for medical leadership. After earning an honors degree from Harvard University, he earned an M.D. from New York's Downstate Medical Center and embarked upon a brilliant career studded with a long line of firsts, in medicine and in communications. In 1974, he founded the Association of Black Cardiologists, serving as its president for a decade. The following year he published The Textbook of Black-Related Diseases, a 900-page volume that remains the only comprehensive African American medical text of its type. Dr. Williams also established the Minority Health Institute, which seeks to eliminate health disparities by taking a holistic approach to patient care tailored to the specific needs of African American communities.

Dr. Williams has been a major influence in restructuring the way medicine is taught and practiced in the United States. His aim is to revise medical school curriculum to include subjects dealing with infrequently taught topics such as women's health; issues pertaining to race, ethnicity, culture, and religion; biomedical ethics; stress and violence in society; nutrition; geriatrics; and the management of death and dying. He also hopes to have an impact on practicing clinicians by teaching them a more patient-centered, culturally competent approach to health care delivery rather than a disease-oriented approach.

Dr. Williams relaxes by running. He has run eight marathons including the Boston Marathon, and more than 100 10K races. He also plays jazz professionally on the trumpet. He travels frequently overseas and speaks six languages. He was honored with a testimonial dinner by the Association of Black Cardiologists in August, 2000, in Washington, D.C., in recognition of his lifetime accomplishments.

In 2001, his life and career were profiled in Harvard Magazine, and he was presented with the Scroll of Merit, the highest award given by the National Medical Association. He was also selected as one of the 100 best physicians in America by Black Enterprise magazine.

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