Harold A. Williamson Jr., M.D., MSPH, was named vice chancellor of the University of Missouri Health System in March 2009. He previously served as interim vice chancellor (September 2008-March 2009); chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine (1998-2008); interim chair (1997-1998); and associate chair (1995-1997). With many years of service to the MU School of Medicine and Department of Family and Community Medicine, including seven years as medical director of the MU Area Health Education Center, Dr. Williamson brings a record of leadership and a strong devotion to the health sciences schools, MU Health Care and University Physicians to his position.
Dr. Williamson began his journey in higher education as a student at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where he graduated with a degree in biology in 1972. Growing up with a father who was a general practitioner and a mother who was a nurse in the rural village of Heron Lake, Minn., he developed a desire to study medicine. He completed his medical degree at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1976, and finished residency at the University of Minnesota in 1979.
After finishing his residency, Dr. Williamson and his wife Mary embarked on a trip to the southern tip of South America. As the couple drove the Pan American Highway to Tierra del Fuego, they worked in two small mission clinics along the way.
Dr. Williamson came to Mizzou in 1980, where he completed a Robert Wood Johnson Academic Family Medicine Fellowship and earned a master's degree in public health. Aside from a two- year sabbatical studying the scope and quality of health services in rural America, he has served the MU School of Medicine and the University of Missouri Health Care System for almost 30 years.
His scholarly interests include respiratory infections in primary care, rural health services research, the rural health care workforce and organization of health services for chronic disease care.
The Williamsons have been married more than 35 years and have two sons.
Dr. Williamson holds leadership roles in many university, community and national organizations. He serves as a board member and is a past president of the American Association of Departments of Family Medicine. He is a former board member of the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, past president of the Missouri Rural Health Association and serves on the Missouri Department of Health's Primary Care Advisory Committee. He has written more than 80 articles, presentations and book chapters in his career.
For his contributions as an educator, Dr. Williamson has been the recipient of many honors. He has twice been awarded the Excellence in Education Award (Clinical) by the Medical Student Affairs Council at the University of Missouri (1995-1996 and 1996-1997), the Family Medicine Teacher of the year (1996-1997), and most recently, the Curriculum Board Teaching Excellence Ward: Outstanding Instructor, Clinical Curriculum, in 2004.