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Williams Mary

Assistant Professor & George Kaiser Family Foundation Chair in Public Health

Mary Williams, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone: (918) 660-3679

Office: The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Schusterman Center

4502 E. 41st Street, Room 1A06

Tulsa, Oklahoma 74135-2512



Mary Williams is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology with a joint appointment in the Department of Family Medicine at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine and is the George Kaiser Family Foundation Chair in Public Health Biostatistics. As a methodologist, Dr. Williams specializes in developing methods through community engagement and a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) framework to investigate infectious and chronic diseases in underserved, vulnerable, and hard-to-reach populations. The majority of her work has involved direct collaboration with community stakeholders to ensure methods are feasible and findings are relevant and actionable. Her areas of focus include nutritional epidemiology and infectious diseases. She has collaborated with multiple tribal nations, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), and regional and statewide agencies, such as Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, and Hunger-Free Oklahoma. She served as a co-investigator and lead methodologist on two NIH-funded CBPR projects where she collaborated with multiple tribal partners to design community-level interventions to increase access to fruits and vegetables. She currently is a co-investigator and lead methodologist for a NIH-funded CBPR study designed to improve insulin resistance among people with HIV. In other nutrition-focused work, Dr. Williams has collaborated with Oklahoma’s regional food banks on a statewide project to assess the needs of Oklahoma’s charitable food systems and food bank client population and with Hunger-Free Oklahoma on an evaluation of a statewide program to increase access to fruits and vegetables for low-income Oklahomans. These projects have contributed to a nation-wide dialog of how to improve health of those accessing charitable food programs and improving access to healthy, nutritious foods for low-income populations. In addition to nutritional epidemiology, Dr. Williams has collaborated with community partners to investigate the effects of infectious diseases, such as hepatitis C virus and COVID-19, in their populations. She collaborated with Cherokee Nation on the development of the first hepatitis C virus elimination program in the United States, collaborated with OSDH on a vulnerability analysis of counties to HIV and HCV infection, and currently works with tribal and community partners to investigate the impact of COVID-19 in their populations. Dr. Williams teaches graduate level courses in epidemiology, infectious disease epidemiology, and medical statistics for Public Health and Health Professional students.



  • PhD, Epidemiology, Hudson College of Public Health, OUHSC, 2013
  • MS, Epidemiology, Hudson College of Public Health, OUHSC, 2008
  • MS, Exercise Physiology, University of Oklahoma, 1987
  • BS, Laboratory Technology, University of Oklahoma, 1984



  • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 2017–present
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Community Medicine, University of Oklahoma Tulsa Schusterman Center, School of Community Medicine, 2017–present
  • George Kaiser Family Foundation Chair in Public Health Biostatistics, OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center, School of Community Medicine, 2017–present
  • Instructor and Senior Research Epidemiologist, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 2013–2017


  • BSE 5113 Principles of Epidemiology
  • BSE 5303 Epidemiology of Infectious Disease
  • BSE 5990 Special Studies
  • BSE 6950 Research in Biostatistics & Epidemiology
  • PA 7702 Epidemiology and Medical Statistics


Research Interests:

  • Methods for community-engaged and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)
  • Health disparities of under-served and hard-to-reach populations
  • Nutritional Epidemiology
  • Infectious diseases and links between infectious and chronic diseases
  • Social determinants of health
  • Addressing tobacco use and addiction in under-served and hard-to-reach populations
  • Program evaluation


Link to Dr. Williams's current publications

Select publications:

  1. Mera, Jorge; Williams, Mary; Essex, Whitney; McGrew, Kaitlin; Boeckman, Lindsay; Gahn, David; Miller, Anna; Durham, David; Fox, Jan; David, Crystal; Ritter, Tara; Jones, Stephen; Bouse, Sally; Galvani, Alison; Ward, John; Drevets, Doug; Carabin, Hélène. Evaluation of the Cherokee Nation Hepatitis C Virus Elimination Program in the First 22 Months of Implementation. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(12):e2030427. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.30427
  2. McGrew, Kaitlin; Garwe, Tabitha; Jafarzadeh, S.; Drevets, Doug; Zhao, Daniel; Williams, Mary; Carabin, Hélène. Misclassification Error-Adjusted Prevalence of Injection Drug Use Among Infective Endocarditis Hospitalizations in the United States: A Serial Cross-Sectional Analysis of the 2007-2016 National Inpatient Sample. Am J Epidemiol. 2021;190(4):588-599. doi:10.1093/aje/kwaa207
  3. Williams, Mary; Wang, Wenyu; Taniguchi, Tori; Salvatore, Alicia; Groover, William; Wetherill, Mariana; Love, Charlotte; Cannady, Tamela; Grammar, Mandy; Standridge, Joy; Fox, Jill; Bird, Blue. Impact of a Healthy Retail Intervention on Fruits and Vegetables and Total Sales in Tribally Owned Convenience Stores: Findings From the THRIVE Study. Health Promot Pract. 2020;1524839920953122. doi:10.1177/1524839920953122
  4. McGrew, Kaitlin; Carabin, Hélène; Garwe, Tabitha; Jafarzadeh, S.; Williams, Mary; Zhao, Yan; Drevets, Doug. Validity of ICD-based algorithms to estimate the prevalence of injection drug use among infective endocarditis hospitalizations in the absence of a reference standard. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020;209:107906. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.107906
  5. McGrew, Kaitlin; Homco, Juell; Garwe, Tabitha; Dao, Hanh Dung; Williams, Mary; Drevets, Doug; Jafarzadeh, S.; Zhao, Yan; Carabin, Hélène. Validity of International Classification of Diseases codes in identifying illicit drug use target conditions using medical record data as a reference standard: A systematic review. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020;208:107825. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107825