Dr. Williams is the Associate Chief of the MGH Division of Nephrology and Founding Director of the MGH Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Williams has a long, foundational track record at MGH in the development of programs to enhance the diversity of the physician workforce here and at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Over the past two decades, he has helped develop critical initiatives to support hospital-wide diversity goals. Dr. Williams graduated from Harvard College, cum laude, with a B.A. in Biochemical Sciences. He went on to medical school at the New York University School of Medicine and completed his residency and fellowship training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in health policy addressing disparities in the care of end stage renal disease and organ transplantation. He is currently serving (and has served) on several national committees addressing key policy issues in nephrology and transplantation and is past chair of the AST and OPTN/UNOS Minority Affairs Committees and member of the Board of Directors at UNOS, the governing body for organ allocation in the U.S. In his research endeavors, Dr. Williams’ most recent work focuses on transplantation across select ABO incompatible blood groups to increase access to transplantation for ethnic minority patients. The findings of his 2015 landmark study—published as the cover article for the Amer J of Transplantation—helped provide the basis for a new kidney allocation algorithm, resulting in an increase in the rate of transplantation for ethnic minority patients in the US.
Reducing health disparities to improve life-saving donations and advance organ transplantation is a critical step in advancing equity within healthcare. Over the course of this discussion, we will explore the hidden barriers that exist in the transplant evaluation process that prevents communities of color from receiving access to appropriate medical care and transplantation. Our panelists will explore effective measures that transplant programs can take to increase the rate of transplants for racially diverse patients and improve healthcare equity.