Q&A with Dr. Lovoria Williams

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Lovoria Williams, Ph.D., FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN is an associate professor in the College of Nursing. Dr. Williams holds 11 current academic appointments including director of the Community Health Advocacy iNterventions Generating Equity (CHANGE) team. 

A strong advocate for diversity, inclusivity and equity, Dr. Williams was appointed by Lexington’s Mayor Linda Gorton as Co-Chair of the Health Disparities Subcommittee on the Commission on Racial Justice & Equality. She is nationally-recognized for developing culturally-adapted interventions for implementation by community health workers in church settings. Her research aims to advance health equity among racial/ethnic minority and medically underserved populations through community engaged research methods to affect improved diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer outcomes.

Dr. Williams joined the BH WELL team in 2018. Her role within the team is to lend expertise regarding tobacco dependence treatment and health equity. 

BH WELL Executive Director Dr. Zim Okoli shares, “One of the greatest challenges today, which is quite a shame really, is equitable access to healthcare. It is hard to imagine that in 2021, as a nation, the U.S. still struggles with issues of systematic racism, bias, and stigma, resulting in shocking health disparities among the most vulnerable populations. I am so proud of the work Dr. Williams is doing in not only advocating for change, but challenging prevailing norms and developing high impact, scalable interventions to ensure equitable access to health for all. Her leadership and the unique expertise she brings to BH WELL is an example of what makes our program top notch!”

Q: When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I have wanted to be a nurse since I was a small girl. I got to where I am now by having a vision for where I wanted to go with my career and by following the advice of great mentors.

Q: With 11 current roles, you keep a full plate. How do you balance so many responsibilities and how do you decide when to say no to a good opportunity?

Is it really 11, wow! I don’t believe there is anything such as balance. I believe that we must prioritize and delegate. I start each week by doing a 15 minute planning meeting session. During this time I look at my calendar and plug in all of my priorities for the week. I say no to a “great opportunity” if it doesn’t align with my trajectory or my values. I also say no when I know that I am unable to make a meaningful contribution due to my current obligations.

Q: How do you define success in your career?

There are so many definitions of success in my multifarious roles. Success is seeing my students walk across the stage, seeing my research participants adopt a healthy lifestyle and seeing my research team members gain confidence in their roles. Overall, success is seeing the manifestation of the effort that I have poured into others.

Q: Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?

If I have to choose one, then I would say my greatest achievement is being inducted as a Fellow in the Academy of Nursing, because this honor is a result of the combination of my career achievements.

Q: Why did you want to join the BH WELL team?

I wanted to be a member of BH WELL because I have great admiration for Dr. Okoli’s work. I think that mental health is an integral part of the profession of nursing that unfortunately is often overlooked.

Q: What does being part of BH WELL mean to you?

It means that I am a part of a team of dedicated mental health professionals and students.

Q: If you had a 3-day weekend, how would you spend it?

I would enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, read a novel, have a dinner at a nice restaurant followed by a play or musical.

Listen to Dr. William's discuss the deadly effects of health inequities as a guest on the SHIFT podcast.

News contributor: Kylie Pemberton