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Edith Williams Ph.D.

Edith Marie Williams Ph.D.

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Rank
  • Associate Professor
College
  • College of Medicine
Department
  • Public Health Sciences
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Biography

Dr. Williams is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the State University of New York at Buffalo.  During her doctoral experience, she was deeply involved in the Buffalo Lupus Project, which was part of a five year federally funded community-based participatory research investigation of asthma and autoimmune diseases in minority communities of Buffalo, New York.  In addition to research activities to uncover common causes of lupus and other autoimmune diseases in the area, this study documented lead levels at the Superfund site of concern and surrounding areas, played a leadership role in successfully advocating for site clean-up, and impacted continuing legislation to support lead screening.  Dr. Williams also led the Breakfast with a Buddy Biomarkers of Lupus Study, an ancillary investigation of pre-clinical heart disease, inflammation, and traditional cardiovascular risk factors in the largely African American cohort of women with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) from the Buffalo Lupus Project. Her doctorate is in Epidemiology and Community Health and she joined the faculty of the University of South Carolina in July of 2007, fulfilling a joint appointment as a Research Assistant Professor with the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities (IPEHD) and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Arnold School of Public Health. Within three years of her appointment, Dr. Williams was appointed as the Deputy Director for Research and Sustainability for the IPEHD and served as the Principal Investigator of a Pfizer fellowship in Health Disparities; the Balancing Lupus Experiences with Stress Strategies (BLESS) Study linked a psychosocial stress intervention with clinical measures of stress in African American lupus patients to assess the utility of this method in reducing perceived stress, and provide the necessary preliminary steps toward future investigations of potential mechanisms. A subsequently awarded concept, the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Observations of Travel Burden (SLEOTB), sought to address barriers that were uncovered as part of this work, by testing whether self-rated travel burden disproportionately impacted African American lupus patients’ ability to participate in clinical trials and regularly attend rheumatologic appointments. In 2012, Dr. Williams received a National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders (NIAMS)/NIH Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01) for a project titled, “An Intervention to Improve Quality of life for African-AmericaN lupus patients (IQAN)”, which furthered BLESS work. Currently, Dr. Williams is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), with a dual appointment in the Division of Rheumatology, and is examining whether a new, culturally tailored  peer mentoring intervention improves disease self-management, indicators of disease activity, and quality of life in African American women with SLE.