Growing up as a self-described "hillbilly" in the Ozark Mountains in Southwestern Missouri, O. Dale Williams most likely never envisioned himself heading up two academic departments at a major state university in Florida. But that's exactly what happened.
Williams was spotted in his small hometown by a traveling "blue jean salesman" and recruited to play college football at Southeastern Louisiana University. Majoring in math, he played ball for four years and got his B.S. in mathematics at Southeastern Louisiana. He then went on to obtain a Master of Public Health and a doctorate in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina.
Williams joined FIU in the summer of 2011 from University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he served as dean of the School of Public Health and as professor of medicine and biostatistics in the Division of Preventive Medicine.
Williams was then chair of the Department of Biostatistics and interim chair of the Department of Environmental Occupational Health in FIU's Robert Stempel College of Public Health. "The College is fortunate to have Dr. Williams join our team. He is an internationally recognized leader in clinical trials and collaborative studies and has an extraordinary research portfolio," says College of Public Health Interim Dean Michele Cicazzo. "The wealth of information and experience he brings is truly an asset to help FIU showcase the research capabilities of our faculty."
He has been combining numbers and people in projects for more than 35 years, including a stint on the steering committee for the multi-national World Health Organization Monitoring Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease Project, for which he led much of the design for the data collection and handling systems synchronizing diverse data from multiple sites in multiple languages over 26 countries. He is the principal investigator for the Fogarty International Center sponsored Clinical Research training in Non-Communicable Diseases in India program, which is enhancing clinical research expertise. Funding for the project was recently renewed for an additional five years.
He was selected as the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year at Southeastern in 1991 for his outstanding accomplishments. Dr. Williams has generously endowed a scholarship for an athlete at Southeastern.