Faculty Snapshot: Olajide Williams

Three photos of Olajide Williams against a bulletin board wtih text Faculty Snapshot Olajide Williams Professor and Chief of Staff in Neurology Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons

Tell us about your work.
I'm a health disparities intervention researcher, implementation scientist, teacher, and stroke neurologist.

Do you have any book recommendations?
Astonishing the Gods by Ben Okri. It’s a bewitching novel set on an enchanted island. It is about the relationship between love, suffering, and creativity. In the book a young man finds himself among invisible beings who have built a world in which every experience must be repeated until it is fully experienced the first time. “Only then can we find what we didn’t seek and go where we don’t intend to go.”

What's in your Netflix queue?
"The Crown," "The Woman King," "Glass Onion," "The Social Dilemma," "Our Planet," "13th." I'm sure there are others. I’m really enjoying “The Last of Us” on HBO, and I’m about to start season two of "Slow Horses." My biggest passion is the English Premiere League. I’m a die-hard Manchester United fan!

What have you been listening to lately? Can you recommend a podcast, album, or artist?
Public Enemy's “Harder than you Think,” Nas's “If I Ruled the World,” James Blunt's “Same Mistake and Tears and Rain,” and "Songs For A Healthier America." I recommend checking out our healthy hip hop song collection at Hip Hop Public Health, the nonprofit I founded.

What is a self-care practice that works for you?
Running and creative writing. I find the latter cathartic; the former de-stresses me. Music also plays a big role in my self-care. It helps my mind travel to wonderful places and spaces. Sleep hygiene is another big one—I take my eight hours very seriously. In fact, when I’m sleep deprived, I’m horrible to be around!

What advice might you have for a potential mentee about how to succeed in academia?
The bigger the dream, the harder the grind! But seriously, follow your passion, work hard, be strategic, find a great mentor, and practice episodic future thinking. For me, I have found that having great mentors—clinical, research, and work/life balance mentors—has been one of the greatest drivers of my success.

Are you currently looking for collaborators? If so, what types of collaborations are you seeking?
I'm always open to collaboration from all walks of life. We learn when we collaborate—about others and about ourselves. The more diverse the collaboration the richer the experience—especially when the partnerships are equitable. But collaborations need to make strategic sense. And while there needs to be alignment, we should be open to exploration—sometimes alignment is hidden and in need of unearthing.

To learn more about Dr. Williams' work, please visit his faculty website.