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J. Richard Williams Lectureship

Initiated in the fall of 2013, this lecture series honors the legacy of J. Richard Williams, Sr, MD. Dr. Williams, a Tulane University graduate, was a well-known and well-loved physician in Selma, Alabama. After graduating from Tulane, he completed his residency at Vaughan Memorial Hospital, now the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum, and became the primary physician in Selma, where he practiced for many years. “He would get up and make night calls and take other responsibilities during World War II,” his wife Annie Laurie remembered. “He was very unselfish and giving of himself.” Along with serving as Selma’s primary physician, Dr. Williams also performed extensive studies in cancer, which were later published in the New England Journal. His work, Annie Laurie said, is something he did with pride and dedication. “He loved medicine,” she said. “He was the kind of doctor who would do anything for his patient.” Because of his great dedication to patient service, the lecture series honoring Dr. Williams focuses on the art of creating a compassionate and trusting relationship between patient and doctor.


Previous Lectures

Arthur R. Derse, MD, JD

Director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, and is Julia and David Uihlein Chair in Medical Humanities, and Professor of Bioethics and Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

"Legal and Ethical Issues in End of Life care"

 February 7, 2020

(PDF) Slides of the Talk


William A. Nelson, MDiv, PhD

Director, Ethics and Human Values Program
Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, Community and Family Medicine and
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College

“The Essential Role of Personal Beliefs in Patient-centered Care”

 October 4, 2019

Listen to the full Lecture,


Robert Pearlman, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor, Medicine - Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine
Department of Medicine, University of Washington

“A Patient-Centered Framework for Reconceptualizing and Addressing Suffering in Medical Practice”

May 7, 2019

Listen to the full Lecture,


Arthur L. Caplan, PhD
Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics
Department of Population Health
NYU School of Medicine

"The Ethics of Compassion: Requests for Unapproved Drugs and the Right to Try"

September 26, 2018
Listen to the full lecture.


Kenneth Berkowitz, MD, FCCP
Chief of Ethics Consultation
VHA National Center for Ethics in Healthcare

Associate Professor of Medicine and Population Health
NYU School of Medicine

"Digital Professionalization: Ethics and How We Contact and Know about Patients"

May 16, 2018
Listen to the full lecture.