Resident physician in psychiatry, Dr. Kimberly Williams, 36, MD’14, shared a spot on the honour roll with fellow alumna Dr. Rita Watterson, 34, MD’13, whom she met in med school. In 2013, they founded Kolabo (Swahili for collaboration), a partnership between the Psychiatry department at UCalgary and a university in Tanzania. Their goal? To reduce the gap in mental-health training in the east-African country. The pair has returned to Tanzania three times to teach and, on their last trip, they trained nearly 300 medical students. We first spoke to Williams.
Tell us a funny memory from UCalgary. I broke my foot while teaching in Mwanza, Tanzania. When I was back at work, I was in a boot cast that some friends bejewelled. I remember walking around the ER and leaving small plastic rhinestones behind.
If you went back to school, what would you take? I have always been fascinated with stories — perhaps that is one reason I really enjoy working as a psychiatrist-in-training. I would take journalism!
Biggest heroes? The patients and their families that I get to work with. Those who live with a mental illness still face stigma and I see the courage it takes for them to seek support and treatment. They are often my biggest teachers.
Worst job? During undergrad, I was a catering delivery driver. This was actually super-hard! I was always rushed to get food to the right places on time. The stress didn’t lead to any type of gratification, so it wasn’t very fun.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? Travel! Do it more than once and do it with your children. We are global citizens and the best education we can get is from learning through experiencing other countries and cultures.