Renee L. Williams, MD, MPHE, FACG Headshot
Renee L. Williams, MD, MPHE, FACG

Commitment to Mentorship, Eliminating Health Care Disparities, and Diversity and Inclusion in Medicine and GI

ACG is honored to present Renee L. Williams, MD, MHPE, FACG, the 2018 Minority Digestive Health Care Award. Dr. Williams is a clinician-educator in gastroenterology, with a focus on health care disparities and medical education. Dr. Williams is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, where she serves as the Program Director for the gastroenterology training program.

Dr. Williams’ committee service with ACG includes serving on the Abstract Review Committee, a temporary membership on the Professional Issues Committee, and a long-standing role on the Minority Affairs and Cultural Diversity Committee, including as Chair for the past two years. As both a member and the Chair of the Minority Affairs and Cultural Diversity Committee, she has spearheaded initiatives aimed at increasing diversity in gastroenterology, including organizing workshops and seminars in gastroenterology for students underrepresented in medicine along the pipeline inclusive of high school, undergraduate and undergraduate medical students. A colleague in the GI community referred to Dr. Williams as a “pillar” of ACG’s annual high school program, Prescription for Success: Careers in Medicine and Science Event. She has been an active member of the GI societies and recently served as a member of the first all-female moderating panel at the video plenary session at Digestive Disease Week.

She has worked with the leadership of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), the Latino Medical Students Association, and the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students to highlight gastroenterology and increase diversity. During her time as Chair, the Committee, in collaboration with the Public Relations Committee, organized and implemented a national social media campaign to advocate for increased screening rates and a lower age of screening for African Americans. Prior to accepting the role of Chair, she first authored the Committee’s systematic review on colorectal cancer in African Americans, “Colorectal Cancer in African Americans: An Update,” emphasizing the continued disparities in this group along with promoting screening at age 45. Under her leadership, the Committee implemented a restructured ACG Summer Scholars Program with the goal of exposing students who are underrepresented in medicine to develop specific skills and attributes related to health professions research. Dr. Williams is committed to advocating appropriate health care in diverse communities through education and leadership.

Dr. Williams received a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from New York University, the College of Arts and Sciences. She received her medical degree from NYU School of Medicine and recently completed a Masters in Health Professions Education in a joint program between Maastricht University in the Netherlands and NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Williams completed her internship, residency and gastroenterology fellowship at NYU School of Medicine. After completing her fellowship, she served on staff at Upstate Medical University as an Assistant Professor before transitioning to her current position.

Dr. Williams has been the recipient of the NYU School of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology’s Christopher Burch Award for Humanism in Medicine along with the Golden Rose Award for lifetime achievement from the Academic Achievement Program at the undergraduate NYU. She was the recipient of an award for outstanding mentorship from the Department of Internal Medicine’s Organization for Nurturing Diversity (DIMOND) resident committee. She is actively involved in medical education activities with a focus on simulation education including OSCEs for assessment and learning. She has also have been involved in quality improvement utilizing a multi-lingual educational instrument to improve bowel preparation in a low English proficiency patient population. Dr. Williams has been an advocate to the medically underserved throughout her training. While in medical school she served on the SNMA Executive Board, which was active in advocating for underrepresented groups. She has been an active participant in minority health events and has been invited to speak at church health fairs both locally and internationally. These efforts continue today—her main clinical site is Bellevue Hospital, a city hospital with a large percentage of uninsured, underinsured and patients with a low English proficiency. She is involved in research and quality improvement efforts to improve outcomes in the underserved. She is the current Chair of the DIMOND Executive Board, which is comprised of senior leadership within the Division and is the Departments Diversity Ambassador for the institution. She is actively involved in recruitment and professional development of underrepresented medical graduate trainees. She has been a member of Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians (BNGAP), a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping diverse medical students, residents and fellows become aware of a career in academia and providing them with resources to explore and embark on an academic career. She serves on the core curriculum, conference development and academic scholarship committees, and designed and implemented a workshop on educational scholarship that has now been launched nationwide through BNGAP.

This ACG achievement award recognizes an ACG member or Fellow whose work in the areas  of clinical investigation or clinical practice has improved the digestive health of minorities or other underserved populations of the United States. These efforts can be shown by community outreach activities through clinical or educational programs, or research in an area of digestive disease that negatively impacts minority populations, such as colorectal cancer, hepatitis B and C, cirrhosis and other GI cancers.