SGS president Ishan Williams
Professor Ishan Williams, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, is an often-celebrated mentor and scholar.

Ishan Canty Williams, professor of nursing and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, was recently celebrated by the organization she leads.

At the Southern Gerontological Society's first-ever virtual awards ceremony in mid-May, Williams was one of two scholar-mentors to earn the Gordon Streib Distinguished Academic Gerontologist Award, which recognizes SGS academic members who demonstrate exceptional mentoring and leadership skills, as well as an impressive scope of quality scholarly publications. The award also recognizes individuals who have a significant positive impact and influence on students and those training to become service providers. Williams was honored with Stephen Marson, a sociology and gerontology professor emeritus at UNC Pembroke. 

Williams is also SGS's president, a role she's occupied since 2019 and will continue through 2021.

Williams is no stranger to applause. In 2019, she earned UVA Health's MLK Award, in 2016, the SGS's Applied Gerontologist Award, and in 2015, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s Pacesetter Award, which recognizes leadership and scholarship among alumni from that institution’s School of Health and Human Sciences.

Williams is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to aging), and was elected in 2018 to its board. She also serves on the AARP’s Public Policy Institute Roundtable and the Lindsay Institute’s Caregiving Advisory Council, and is associate editor for the Journal of Ethnicity & Health. At UVA where she teaches public policy to graduate and undergrad nursing students, she also earned the 2016 Faculty Leadership Award from the School’s Alumni Association.

At UVA, Williams teaches health policy, evidence-based practice, health promotion and population health, as well as culture and diversity courses.

In addition to her research, which focuses on chronic illness and mental health among vulnerable populations of older adults and their caregivers, Williams also collaborates with colleagues on work focused on advance directives, end-of-life concerns, patients’ transitions between home, community and hospital settings, and how individuals with chronic conditions share information about their health issues on social media.