By Anna Braunsdorf
Every day, Dr. Tammi Williams makes a difference in children’s lives.
Williams, a Texas Woman’s University alumnus and former NCAA Division II All-America basketball player, currently works as a pediatrician at the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving, Tex., where she serves a variety of patients from underserved and affluent populations alike.
As a player from 1990 through 1994, Williams carved a place for herself in the Texas Woman’s record books. She is currently second all-time in points (1,644) and rebounds (805), third all-time in steals (154) and fifth all-time in blocks (57).
These days, Williams is an active member of the medical community. She chaired the Department of Pediatrics and was a member of the Medical Executive Committee at Baylor Hospital from 2006 to 2008, and for the next two years, she served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving. Beyond her practice, Williams currently works as a volunteer medical staff member for CAMP C.A.M.P., which stands for Children’s Association for Maximum Potential and serves children with special needs.
Her on-court and community accolades made her the Lone Star Conference’s female nominee to the Division II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team being honored this year.
Williams’ efforts and high-quality care have not gone unnoticed. For receiving near-perfect scores as voted on by her pediatric patients’ parents, the Arlington, Tex., native earned both the Patients’ Choice Award from PatientsChoice.org and the Most Compassionate Doctor Award from Vitals.com in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, Williams also received the Talk of the Town Award from Celebration U.S. Media for the high ratings the parents of her patients gave her on consumer review websites, social networks, blogs and other outlets.
“It’s important to understand that you’re not only dealing with the child who needs to have somelevel of understanding of what you’re doing,” Williams said, “but you’re also dealing with the whole family as well.”
Williams has always recognized the importance of family. While she was looking at colleges as a high school senior, her family was top of mind.
“At the time, my mom was single with four kids, and I was looking for opportunities to gain a scholarship or some financial help in paying for my college, wanting to take that burden off her,” Williams said. “So we were interviewed at several different places.”
One of those places was Texas Woman’s University in Denton. The head coach of the women’s basketball team, Kaycee Crump, invited Williams (then Tammi Julch) to spend a day with the team so she could observe a practice and get to know the players on a personal level.
“Quite honestly, my visit at Texas Woman’s University was just a good fit for me,” Williams said. “It was not too far away from home, where I could still be a help to my mom, but it still offered me all the advantages I needed in being able to play basketball, getting a scholarship and build strong academics.”
The Pioneers were building a competitive, championship-caliber basketball team. When Williams joined the program in 1990, and she became a dominant post player. She was named Texas Woman’s Basketball’s Most Outstanding Athlete three years in a row, and she earned the school’s President’s Award, which is the highest honor a current Pioneer student-athlete can receive.
Williams’ other accolades include being a three-time all-Lone Star Conference selection and three-time conference academic pick. She also was twice recognized as a CoSIDA Academic All-American.
In 1994, Williams’ final year of school, she earned the U.S. Achievement Academy’s All-American Collegiate Scholar Award for the second time and was named the state of Texas’ Division II Woman of the Year. Then, in 2002, Williams became just the second student-athlete inducted into the Texas Woman’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
“My experience at Texas Woman’s University was gratifying in all areas,” Williams said. “It prepared and provided the stepping stone that I needed to go further in my life.”
After graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1994, Williams earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. She went on to attend medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and completed her internship and residency in pediatrics.
The four years Williams spent as a student-athlete at Texas Woman’s had a profoundimpact on her life. So, when she now encounters parents of patients who are skeptical about athletics, she encourages them to keep an open mind.
“It’s more than just the basketball game; it’s more than just the baseball game. It’s teaching people how to come together for a united cause,” Williams said.