Shellie Williams, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine (Geriatrics & Palliative Medicine) has been named as the inaugural recipient of the Richard Payne Leadership Award from the Hastings Center and Cunniff-Dixon Foundation. Dr. Williams is joining a very special community of 55 physicians over the last 12 years who have been chosen as leaders in the field of palliative care.

Dr. Williams practices both geriatric and palliative medicine. Her clinical focus is primarily with aging dementia patients in underserved communities on Chicago’s South Side. She is a dedicated teacher, advocate, and researcher who focuses much of her work on addressing access and education disparities for patients of color and their caregivers. She provides culturally competent care for patients in inpatient units, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and home hospice. Her scholarly focus is related to dementia education, awareness, and resources through a number of avenues, including the Supporting Healthy Aging Resources & Education (SHARE) Network. In addition, Dr. Williams developed and launched an innovative education and intervention model that helps faith leaders identify signs of dementia within their congregations and connects them to resources for optimizing care in the community. She is an active member of UChicago’s Diversity and Inclusion and Physician Assistance committees, chair of the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) Black Professionals, Patients & Families Forum, and member of AAHPM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. She works tirelessly to address issues of injustice and racism while improving health, access, and quality care for patients.

The  Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards have long recognized five outstanding physicians—a senior physician, a mid-career physician, and three early-career physicians. The year 2022 marks the addition of a sixth physician award: The Dr. Richard Payne Leadership Award to honor physicians who work with vulnerable and/or underserved populations. The Foundation is planning a special event in her honor at University of Chicago.  More information about the award may be found here