Since launching her Medicine in Color podcast in January 2019, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine student Alicia Williams (DO ’22) has embarked on a journey of connection and inspiration. With a variety of guests from across the medical landscape, Ms. Williams has provided for her listeners what she knows is valuable as an aspiring medical professional – real examples of what a career in medicine can look like for men and women of color.
“I have always found it’s easiest for me to receive advice from someone I have a connection with, someone that has accomplished what I am looking to accomplish,” she said. “The goal of the podcast is for aspiring physicians to hear from people they can relate to, people who can give guidance on what they would and wouldn’t do differently throughout their career. I also hope to engage an audience who may not have thought medicine was an option for them. Hearing these stories of people who have found their way to medicine can inspire others to see this career path as a possibility.”
Even as demand for diversity increases, minorities are still widely underrepresented in the medical profession. A study published in 2016 by researchers at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina showed racial and ethnic minorities represent 30 percent of the total population but only 11.5 percent of physicians, 11.2 percent of nurses and 10.1 percent of pharmacists currently in practice in the US.
To date, Ms. Williams’ podcast has featured a variety of guests from across the field of medicine. Guests include doctors, nurses, pharmacists and more, all of whom are men and women of color. “I want my podcast to be far-reaching,” said Ms. Williams. “I also want to utilize my platform as a networking tool. If I have a pharmacist on the show and a listener reaches out to speak with them to learn more about pharmacy, I am happy to connect the two.”
Since launching the podcast, Williams has captured a listening base of more than 1,800 and received special recognition when she was invited to host a live recording at the 2019 Student National Medical Association’s (SNMA) Annual Medical Education Conference.
Still, maintaining a podcast while in medical school is no easy feat. “I have learned to compartmentalize my responsibilities,” says Ms. Williams. “When it’s time to study, it’s time to study. When it’s time to work on the podcast, it’s time to work on the podcast. I am a one-woman show, so it’s important that I am strict with my schedule. Having this structure is what allows me to get everything done.”
In addition to hosting and producing her own podcast, Ms. Williams is the current PCOM DO Council President and in this role also serves as a member of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association’s (POMA) Board of Trustees and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s (AACOM) Council of Student Government Presidents (COSGP).
She is also a member of the PCOM EMed Club and the Student National Medical Association and for the past six months, has served on the Committee of Legislative Affairs with the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Medical Student Section. She received her bachelor of science in chemistry from Savannah State University.