It should be no surprise when walking the halls of UAB’s medical wards if a singing voice emanates from a patient’s room or the nearby nurse’s station. That familiar voice is most likely Dr. Shammah Williams, an endeared third-year medicine resident at UAB. On one occasion, while his patient was succumbing to a terminal illness, Shammah took time that night to sit with the patient and family and provided comfort by singing gospel hymns. Several prior life experiences taught him that true care for a patient goes well beyond medications and procedures.
Shammah was born in Pembroke Parish, Bermuda, where he grew up in a family of eight boys. He was exposed to the medical field at an early age as his mother was a nurse at a local hospital. Shammah attributes his interest and success in medicine to his mother who taught him humility, sacrifice, and hard work. Shammah’s medical career was further shaped by the passing of his father during his second year of medical school after a series of strokes. It was this experience that he says shapes the way he treats every patient and family he encounters.
Following his mother’s wish that all eight of her boys receive a college education, Shammah received a full scholarship to study mathematics and biology at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL. Shammah excelled at Oakwood and was awarded the coveted Biology Senior Student of the Year. He was also listed as a Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities in 2006. After graduating summa cum laude, he was accepted on scholarship to Loma Linda University School of Medicine. While maintaining a busy schedule, Shammah devoted time as a choir member and soloist in the Mt. Rubidoux SDA Church Gospel Choir – a choir that competed in Verizon Wireless’ national gospel choir competition in Atlanta, GA.
When interviewing for Internal Medicine residency, Shammah knew UAB was the place for him after meeting with Dr. Gustavo Heudebert, who emphasized that UAB would first and foremost teach him to be an excellent physician. Shammah accepted the challenge and has established himself as a great clinician at UAB. In addition to his clinical training he has been a part of cardiology research at UAB involving pulmonary thromboembolism and three-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography. Shammah has enjoyed his time at UAB and says his most memorable experiences were working with patients and residents at Cooper Green Hospital. He could not imagine training at another program and values the relationships he has developed with residents, faculty, and patients.
Shammah will be pursuing a fellowship in cardiology this coming year. His long-term goals are to return to Bermuda and help lead the country in advancing cardiovascular disease care and training future cardiologists.