What Patriotism Means To Me

My family enjoyed the 4th of July with a patriotic celebration of flags, sparklers, and fireworks. But for me, the seeds of patriotism sprouted in a far corner of South Carolina on my father’s family farm. As a preschooler, I chased chickens that clucked and ran and flapped. I slurped cheeks full of fresh watermelon picked from the field. America. The only thing missing was apple pie.

My ancestors worked that farm as slaves when it was part of a larger plantation. The land was ceded to my great-great-great-grandfather - a gift from his former master. Today my cousins grow soybeans, but for generations escaping the farm was a wartime ritual for the men.

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Brian H. Williams, MD
RVM Ep. 1 - Dead Men Do Tell Tales

Do you wonder what it's like to give expert testimony in a homicide case? Or what role does an autopsy play in bringing closure to families?

And how is it possible to retrieve all that information from the deceased?

Join me on Unmasked with our guest Dr. Candace Schoppe. A forensic pathologist based in Dallas, TX, she takes us behind the curtain on a journey into the world of forensic pathology.  

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Commencement Address - Loyola Stritch School of Medicine

I had the honor of delivering the commencement address to the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine Class of 2018. Being in the presence of 165 exuberant new medical doctors was inspiring, and a reminder of how fortunate I am to serve in this profession.

With a nod to St. Ignatius of Loyola, my address centered on three themes for the new MDs:

  1. Humanity - Guard it. It is one of the greatest gifts you have.

  2. Authenticity - Do not trade it for acceptance.

  3. Vulnerability - It is a source of power, not weakness.

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Brian H. Williams, MD
The Myth Of Hard Work And Education

I received the following response to my recent op-ed published in the Dallas Morning News:

“She’d be better served if you put as much energy into teaching her that with hard work, and education – she can do anything she wants to do in life. Let her dream her dreams instead of burdening her with your hangups.”

Initially, I dismissed this comment, convinced there was no way this individual actually read the piece. But for several days the phrase “with hard work and education” stuck with me. Eventually, I chose to seize this opportunity and elaborate on my point about systemic racism.

The American Dream

Of course I understand the importance of hard work and education. I graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, went to medical school, trained at Harvard and Emory, and taught at one of the largest medical centers in the country.  I understand, as well as anyone, the value of hard work and education. It is an ethos I continuously work to instill in my daughter.

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Brian H. Williams, MD
The Ugly Truth About Medicine & Black History

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” 
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m not feeling Black History Month this year. The annual observance, meant to ensure the contributions of African-Americans are not forgotten, was founded by Carter G. Woodson in 1926 as Negro History Week.  It often relies on a curated selection of African-American greats to celebrate what is essentially American history. However, the richness of Black history, its hardships and triumphs, is interwoven into American history and attempts to separate the two must end.

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Brian H. Williams, MD
Resilience: 6 Concepts to Know

Resilience is our ability to recover from tragedy. It’s a quality that trauma professionals need all the time — so why then do we wait to discuss resilience only after a mass casualty incident like the Las Vegas shooting dominates the news?

Simply, we should not. Your level of resilience is greatly influenced by your prior experiences, so the time to start laying the personal groundwork for greater resilience is now.

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Brian H. Williams, MD
“We’re In This Together”

Congratulations to Jeff Holmquist (Senior Editor) and Ryan Hall (Photography & Video Specialist) from the Association of Graduates at my alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy. Their article “We’re In This Together” took top honors (Gold Award) for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), District VI as Best Article of the Year!

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Brian H. Williams, MD
Top 10 Leadership Pearls

Remember in Pearls of Leadership I asked “if you could go back in time to advise your college self about leadership, what one pearl of wisdom would you give?” Well that was in preparation for the Gilbert Leadership Conference I wrote about in Part 2. Thank you for your responses and as promised here is your Top 10 list of leadership wisdom.

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Brian H. Williams, MD
Pearls of Leadership (Part 2)

As a white male what can I do to help?”

It is Friday evening and I’m meeting 40 college freshman from Texas A&M gathered in a conference room of a Fortune 500 company in downtown Dallas. Selected through a competitive process to participate in the Gilbert Leadership Conference, they traveled several hours by bus earlier this day for a weekend of activities in the Big D.

Going overtime, we evolve from a robust discussion about leadership into a respectful dialogue regarding individual responsibilities to address racism and social equity.

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Brian H. Williams, MD