The First John Ed and Odessa Williams Endowment Lectureship Brings Renowned Diabetes Expert to Campus

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Sisters Beverly Williams-Cleaves, MD, second from left; Ethelyn Williams-Neal, MD, center; and Willie Williams Crittendon, PhD, are shown at the inaugural lectureship they endowed in memory of their parents. Guy Reed, MD, chair of the UTHSC Department of Medicine, is at far left, and featured speaker, James Gavin III, MD, is at right.

The first John Ed and Odessa Williams Endowment in Community Diabetes Lectureship earlier this month brought renowned diabetes expert James Gavin III, MD, to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) campus as the keynote speaker.

The lectureship was established by sisters Willie M. Williams Crittendon, PhD, an educator; Ethelyn Williams-Neal, MD, a pediatrician and clinical assistant professor at UTHSC; and Beverly Williams-Cleaves, MD, an internist/endocrinologist and clinical associate professor at UTHSC, in memory of their parents, John Ed and Odessa Williams.

The endowment was developed to encourage greater diversity in support of UTHSC, to highlight the importance of excellent community care for those with diabetes and to provide ancillary financial support for minority medical students at UTHSC.

“We were excited to have the opportunity to launch this inaugural lectureship,” Dr. Williams-Cleaves said. ”This lectureship is on a topic that is very dear to our hearts.”

As part of the two-day event at UTHSC, Dr. Gavin, clinical professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, spoke at Grand Rounds, consulted with endocrinology fellows and spoke at a meeting of the Bluff City Medical Society. Dr. Gavin is past president of the American Diabetes Association and immediate past chairman of the National Diabetes Education Program.

“We were extremely pleased and honored to have Dr. James Gavin as our inaugural speaker,” Dr. Williams-Cleaves said. “He brought great stature to this event.”