Jun 1, 2023

Humans of LMP: Andrew Williams

Programs: Postgraduate, Inclusive community
Andrew Williams

Each month we speak to a member of the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology community and find out more about them as part of an initiative from our Wellness, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee (WIDE).

Visit the Humans of LMP page to read more stories and nominate yourself or others to be featured.

This month we feature Forensic Pathology Program Director, Dr. Andrew Williams.

How long have you been at LMP and what does your role involve?

I’ve been appointed at LMP for 6 years where my roles in the department have largely been supporting various levels of education at the university, including undergraduate lectures, undergraduate project supervision, and postgraduate training, as well as some administrative support roles such as with the MD admissions process and PGME internal review. I am currently serving in the capacity of Program Director of the Forensic Pathology Residency Training Program.

In my clinical work, I am a forensic pathologist at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit where I principally conduct medicolegal autopsies, teach, and appear as a witness in court as needed.

What led you to pursue your current career path?  

An immersive learning experience with the dedicated team at the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service in Halifax, NS. Being welcomed and brought in on every aspect of the death investigation system showed me the incredible breadth and impact of this field of practice and I’ve never looked back.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of? 

That is a tough question. I thoroughly enjoyed one of my residency research projects where I was able to take an idea from simple observation through development of a small grant funded research project and end up with a peer reviewed publication – because of the modest scope of the project and support I received from my program, I had the opportunity to do most of the work myself, so I feel a great deal of honest ownership of that whole project.  

Most recently, I was very excited to welcome a group of learners from multiple organizations to the Coroner’s Courts for a full day education program on the role of Expert Witness Testimony in our judicial system.

Headlined by Madam Justice Rita Jean Maxwell and Ms. Marie Henein, and supported by the phenomenal talent of the various Crown attorneys and expert witnesses that participated, I cannot take much credit for the education that they provided, but I was honored to be able to host them and the group of learners for the day.

What was the best career advice you ever received?  

Always be somewhere where you are seen and valued. In the moment you find yourself not seen or not valued, dive deep to understand why it is that you are accepting not being seen and not being valued. If you can’t find a good answer, well then…

What has been an important learning experience in your life? 

Learning that sometimes the charted course is not the one you end up following. And that that is okay. 

Who is an influential person in your life and why?

They all are. Sounds like a lazy answer, but I did run through a list and there is simply no defensible reason to pick one. It’s a village.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

The contents of my Spotify liked list.

What activities do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

Gardening, running, and noticing the moments when the people I love are smiling.

What is your favourite album, film and novel? 

I’m going to substitute album for music and say Andrew Norman’s Sabina.

Film? Possibly Jurassic Park – just based on the number of times I can use quotes from that movie in everyday life.

Novel is harder – I’ll just give you what I’m reading now and that is Mircea Eliade’s A History of Religious Ideas.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

I know what you’re intending me to do with this, but in the line of work that I have I am constantly reminded of who I want to spend my time with most. I pick them.

Where/what is your favourite place? 

I enjoy that you included the option of ‘what’ is your favorite place. I choose that. A hammock. Bar none, the most consistently amazing place to be.

If you were stuck on a deserted island but had all your basic needs taken care of (i.e. food and water), what two items would you bring with you and why?

A “deserted” island? Probably flint to start a fire and a cryostorage device disguised as a Barbasol can in the event I have the opportunity to make a significant amount of money.