Robert Williams, a physician at Yakima Gastroenterology Associates, chose to pursue a career in medicine when he saw the potential to combine science and service. He strives to listen closely to his patients and their story, summarizing their concerns, and building trust to show that he understands what they are most concerned about. Finding it important to stay in shape and stay sharp for his patients, Robert runs marathons with his son.
What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
In high school, I was interested in sciences and learning about how the human body works. As I grew older, I saw a career in medicine as this intersection of service and science.
Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
If I can listen to the patient, they will tell me their story and help me to unravel the issue. I find it helpful to repeat back to my patients what I heard by saying, "So this is what I'm hearing. Does that summarize what it is that's bothering you?" By doing so, I'm better able to help them and understand the problem. I also think that builds more confidence by showing my patients I do understand what concerns them.
What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
I have a lot of respect for Memorial's mission of outreach within the community. They focus on trying to address needs in our community. One of the ways they have done this is through the Children's Village outreach which has been phenomenal and is known around the nation - even the world - as an example of bringing different specialties and disciplines together to serve the community.
What do you like about Yakima?
I really enjoy Yakima's climate and the outdoor environment. It's been fun to ski, hike and cycle. But even more, I think it's been special to have the opportunity to be part of this community, to make lifelong friends and to be a part of a really great church and faith community that way. Also, the patients here have been a blessing. The people are hardworking, appreciative of the care, and I've really been privileged to meet some great people.
Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I enjoy distance running. A few years ago, I was trying to think of ways that I could connect with my youngest son who loves distance running and share something with him so I began to do more distance running. That led to longer distances and now we've had the privilege of being able to run a number of marathons, including the Boston Marathon a couple times. It's been a great adventure and I'm grateful that I'm able to get out and do it.