Surgeon. Speaker. Activist.
One America Board Vice Chair.
Q: You were an aeronautical engineer in the U.S. Air Force before becoming a trauma surgeon. Tell us about that.
A: I graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. I chose that degree because I liked airplanes and I liked math, so it was the perfect match.
Studying engineering is one thing, but putting it to practical use is quite another. I had a blast using my education in the Air Force. I was designated as a Flight Test Engineer in the division of Air Force Special Projects. What that means is, I did research and development for classified military programs. It was one of the most exciting periods of my life. I had access to cutting edge technology and worked with great people who were smart, dedicated, and now close friends.
After doing that for 6 years, I decided to transition to medicine. Although it was a different career path, much of what I learned regarding work ethic, integrity, and service prepared me for success in medical school.
Q: You were the trauma surgeon on duty at Parkland Memorial Hospital during the 2016 Dallas police shooting. You’ve spoken publicly about treating wounded police officers. How has that experience informed your work as a surgeon and civically engaged American?
A: I was the trauma surgeon on call at the hospital the night of the Dallas police shooting. Professionally, it was the worst night of my career – one that I still think about every day. The loss of life, the impact on the families, and the broad societal discussion about the destructiveness of persistent racism have all been transformative for me. As a result, I have become more purposeful about the role I play via my words and actions in working toward addressing these issues. Remaining silent about gun violence and the effects of racism is no longer an option for me.
Q: How does your experience inform your work with One America?
A: One America is about “building bridges and solving problems.” That can only be achieved by all of us coming together. On a personal level, I have grand ambitions to leave a better world for my daughter to inherit. However, I know I am unable to do that alone. One America allows me to work with others with a similar ethos, drive, and commitment. It’s a perfect match!
To learn more about Dr. Williams please visit BrianWilliamsMD.com.