Notable Heroes in Health Care: O’Rell Williams

Vice president of medical affairs, Ascension St. Joseph Hospital

Dr. O’Rell Williams works as a physician and serves as vice president of medical affairs at Ascension St. Joseph on Milwaukee’s north side. As a former Milwaukee firefighter and physician he uses his skills, courage and compassion to improve the health of the

Dr. O’Rell Williams works as a physician and serves as vice president of medical affairs at Ascension St. Joseph on Milwaukee’s north side. As a former Milwaukee firefighter and physician he uses his skills, courage and compassion to improve the health of the community.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit early and hard, Williams became increasingly concerned about the disproportionate number of minority patients battling the virus.

He quickly jumped in – using his voice and his role in the community to dispel disinformation and educate the community that COVID-19 was real and serious.

He took the time to brief faith leaders in the community about the disease, and met with elected officials to help them make informed decisions and taught people how to protect themselves and prevent its spread.

“He took advantage of opportunities to reach people where they live, build deeper connections and instill confidence in his message,” said Reggie Newson, vice president of government and community services and chief advocacy officer, Ascension Wisconsin.

Williams also serves as clinical management section chief for Ascension Wisconsin, a position he has held since the beginning of the pandemic. In this role Williams mobilized more than 1,000 physicians across the state to be able to help patients where the need was greatest.

He oversaw the implementation of advanced telehealth technology across Wisconsin which expanded access to care and allowed Ascension providers to virtually offer consultative support to needed areas.

He also continues to see patients two days a week providing much needed access to primary care.

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