You and I are sharing very turbulent times in our lives. Like a storm that rolls into your neighborhood and blows over trees, COVID-19 has thrown all of our lives upside down. Just on top of the COVID-19 storm is an earthquake. Voices in our country are shouting for recognition and action in the face of in-justice. Right now, it can feel like everything in the world is scary, dangerous, and frightfully uncertain.
For a perspective on all of this, I wanted you to meet someone I greatly respect, someone I have worked with before and followed on the news for several years, my good friend, Dr. Brian Willams.
I hope you will find my conversation with Dr. Brian Williams on becoming a trauma surgeon, the lessons he has learned along the way, and the courage he says we must call upon “to share our experiences, biases and expectations” so as to make a better America for all.
I first got to meet Dr. Williams at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. There, he and I tested the Air Force’s top fighter aircraft. Even then, Dr. Williams had a calling to become a doctor. After completing his service as an aeronautical engineer, he went on to pursue his passion for helping people by becoming a very special kind of doctor. While all of our medical first responders deserve our respect and admiration, through hard work and lots of study, Dr. Williams became a surgeon and is now the Co-Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Chicago School. In addition to teaching, Dr. Williams practices medicine, focusing on trauma and critical care. This means that he treats people who have become very sick or suddenly injured.
Dr. Williams is also an activist and advocate for social change. When he lived in Texas, Dr. Williams served as Chair of the Dallas Citizens Police Review Board. After a tragic attack against police officers during a time of social unrest, Dr. Williams brought the local community together to change how activists, the police and government work with citizens to provide oversight of the police. Oversight is one of those “adult” words that means supervision. Think of your school principal and how he or she supervises their teachers and listens to parents, but does not sit in on every class.
One of the remarkable things about the military is how it brings together people from different walks of life and, through shared experiences, instills a code of conduct that values integrity, service and excellence. I am proud to call Dr. Williams a friend and look forward to sharing his perspective and insights with all of you.