First-year KCU medical student receives 2023 Excellence in Public Health Award

By Elizabeth Alex Apr 26, 2023
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As a first-year medical student who has not completed a full year of coursework, there is no doubt that Student Doctor Joseph Williams is committed to making an impact on his peers, the University and public health. Williams was recently honored by the Physicians Professional Advisory Committee of the U.S. Public Health Service with the 2023 Excellence in Public Health Award.

LCDR Cory Kokko MPH, REHS/RS, of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) presented the award to Williams in the presence of KCU, his wife, friends, colleagues and University leadership “in recognition of his demonstrated commitment to public health and public health practice.”

Rex Archer, MD, KCU director of population and public health, nominated Williams for the award. Archer spoke about Williams' natural affinity for relationship building enabling him to bring different groups of people around issues of public health. “Student Doctor Joseph Williams has already displayed exceptional strengths in relationship building and a passion to continue to grow in his knowledge and skills of public health on top of a rigorous medical school learning experience,” Archer said.

In addition to his pursuit of establishing a public health interest group, Williams has engaged with many clubs on campus. He currently serves as a first-year representative of the Wilderness Medicine Club and is an active member of the Emergency Medicine Club.

Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He went on to complete a Master's in Public Health degree at Yale University.

His determination and passion for public health and the social factors that determine health are the foundation for his perspective. “The systems that impact our everyday living — like the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink — all have direct impacts on our health. Our health is more than just going to the doctor and going home. It’s about comprehensive, holistic, everyday living," said Williams. 

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