(AUSTIN, TX) The Texas Medical Association has elected Josie R. Williams, M.D., of Paris, as its 143rd president. Dr. Williams assumed the role Saturday at TexMed 2008, the Association’s annual meeting, held this year in San Antonio.

Dr. Williams, a gastroenterologist and internal medicine specialist, will serve as president for one year. She just completed her one-year term as president-elect, the traditional precedent to becoming president. Dr. Williams has served as a member of TMA’s Board of Trustees since 2001, on the Association’s Council on Legislation and Council on Socioeconomics and in several other capacities. She also has been active as a TMA delegate to the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates.

As president, she seeks to strengthen the physicians’ role as leaders in health care.

“I bring a new vision, and the hope and expectation that physicians can drive the health care ship better than others,” Dr. Williams noted.

Dr. Williams uniquely understands who should steer the health care ship because she has served in various medical roles onboard throughout her storied career. She has been a physician in private practice, hospital administrator, military nurse, nursing administrator and assistant professor, among other professional roles.

Dr. Williams also has served in the forefront of numerous other professional medical groups, notably those involved in patient safety issues. Improving patient safety has driven Dr. Williams throughout her career.

“If we’re good scientists, as we should be, and if we truly are about caring for patients, then we don’t just want to know what to do,” Dr. Williams explained. “Instead, we want to know what’s the safest, evidence-based quality of care that will produce the best, patient-centered care, the most effective way.”

Dr. Williams wanted to work in medicine since she was a child. She earned her medical degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and her nursing degree at Sparks Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Fort Smith, Ark. She completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Williams is director of the Rural and Community Health Institute at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. She also is assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the HSC-College of Medicine. She is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

“Our state faces many health care challenges, from the high number of uninsured people to overall wellness concerns,” Dr. Williams said. “TMA has to continue its leadership role in helping tackle those problems, to improve the health of all Texans.”

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 43,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

— Marketing & Communications