UC Health Radiation Therapist Wins Unsung Hero Award
Published June 2011
Shameka Williams always knew she wanted to work in medicine and help people. Being a doctor didn’t seem like the right fit—the long-term training was just too much.
She found her calling as a radiation therapist.
Now nearly eight years into her career—at the youthful age of 28—Williams serves as chief radiation therapist at the UC Health Barrett Cancer Center where she oversees a staff of seven therapists who work side-by-side with the radiation oncologists and physicists who provide care at the Clifton outpatient facility.
"I get a lot of joy out of what I do,” says Williams, who recently won Cancer Family Care’s Unsung Heroes Oncology Professional Award for her dedication to outstanding patient care.
The Unsung Heroes program celebrates "acts of quiet heroism performed by cancer patients and the people who care for them.” This year drew nearly 40 nominations in four categories: patient, caregiver, oncology professional and volunteer.
William Barrett, MD, chair of radiation oncology at UC and medical director for the Barrett Cancer Center, nominated Williams.
"Shameka goes beyond a job description and works so hard for others every day. She shows our patients that they are very much cared about and helps put them at ease during a stressful time,” says Barrett.
In addition to direct patient care, Williams enjoys mentoring students who rotate through radiation therapy about how to work with patients in a professional yet compassionate way.
"Cancer is a disease we are fighting together, but as professionals we need to know where to stop. I tell students that we can encourage and support patients, but there must be appropriate checks and balances,” she reflects.
The outcome isn’t always positive, but Williams says she does everything possible to lift patients’ spirits during treatment and show them that there is a caring medical team behind them.
"I get so much satisfaction out of seeing patients come back to report positive news—whether it is that they are now cancer free or that they are able to eat solid foods again, ” says Williams.
Williams received her associate’s degree in applied science from UC. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Gianni, and daughters, Asya, 7, and Gianna, 3.
To learn more about radiation oncology at UC Health, visit ucphysicans.com.