In Memoriam: Sterling B. Williams, MS, MD, PhD, ACCME Volunteer

June 27, 2013
Posted by: 
Tamar Hosansky

ACCME Volunteer Dr. Sterling B. Williams Passes Away

It is with deep sadness that we observe the passing of Sterling B. Williams, MS, MD, PhD, Vice President, Education, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; and a longtime ACCME volunteer. Dr. Williams passed away on Sunday, May 19, after a brief illness. He was 72 years old.

Dr. Williams was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana, a master’s degree in physiology from Northern Illinois University, and his medical doctorate and PhD from the University of Arkansas. He served his ob-gyn residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

He was a professor at Columbia University, and residency program director at the Harlem Hospital Center in New York City, from 1987 to 1997. From 1997 to 2001, he was the Kermit E. Krantz Professor and chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kansas until accepting the position of Vice President of Education at The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Williams published extensively, received numerous honors, and served in many leadership positions related to medical education.

Dr. Williams was a dedicated volunteer for the ACCME. He served on the Board of Directors from 2006-2010, including serving as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee, and serving as a member of the Executive Committee; Compensation Committee; Nominating, Elections, and Awards Committee; the Workgroup on Cost Reduction, and the Monitoring Task Force. Dr. Williams also served on the ACCME Accreditation Review Committee (ARC) from 2002-2005.

In addition to his dedication to medicine and education, Dr. Williams was an accomplished classical musician. He sang baritone for The Washington Chorus, and as a member of this chorus, performed with the National Symphony Orchestra in concerts at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Dr. Williams is survived by his beloved wife, Joice, and three children, Sterling, Spencer, and Angela, and many other family members, as well as numerous friends and colleagues.

“We are honored that Dr. Williams served as a volunteer for so many years, contributing his wisdom and expertise to the ACCME. He was a thoughtful, reflective, and engaged volunteer, with a strong commitment to continuing medical education. We will continue to benefit from his contributions and we will greatly miss his presence,” said Murray Kopelow, MD, President and CEO, ACCME.

“On a personal level, I enjoyed Dr. Williams’ musical talents. On the day I received my US citizenship, I returned to the office for an ARC meeting, where Dr. Williams was in attendance. He gave a powerful rendition of ‘America the Beautiful.’ His moving tribute made an important celebration even more memorable for me,” Dr. Kopelow said.

Dr. Williams' family requests that donations be made to the establishment of The Sterling B. Williams, MS, MD, PhD Lecture in obstetrics and gynecology. The Williams Lecture will be a fitting memorial to a man who was so committed to lifelong learning and his specialty.

Donations supporting The Sterling B. Williams, MS, MD, PhD Lecture should be made to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists/The Williams Lecture and sent to ACOG, Development Department, 409 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC, 20024. For additional information regarding donations, contact Katie O’Connell at 202-863-2546 or

The family also stated that donations will be gratefully accepted for the promotion of research for a cure for Alzheimer’s, in loving memory of Dr. Sterling B Williams, Jr., and in honor of Mrs. Joice Johnson Williams. Donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 North Michigan Ave., Suite 1700, Chicago, IL, 60602; 1-800-272-3900.

Dr. Williams’ contributions and achievements are described on the following Web sites.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Castle Connolly National Physician of the Year Awards

The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame

We acknowledge The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Web site and the Sterling B. Williams Memorial Service Program for the information included in this item.

Sterling B. Williams, MS, MD, PhD.  Photo courtesy of ACOG.