To enable the University of Kentucky College of Medicine to succeed in its mission for a healthier Kentucky, leadership must prioritize the wellness and well-being of faculty, staff, and learners. Lisa Williams, MSSA, is serving in the college’s new leadership position, associate dean for wellness and well-being, to help us excel in this goal.

Get to know our Williams through the following Q&A.

Q: Why did you want to become our new associate dean for wellness and well-being?

A: My professional purpose has always been focused on supporting individuals in reconnecting with what matters most – their mental, physical, and emotional health – and enhancing the well-being of work cultures. Moving into this position offers an exciting opportunity to do both and create a culture of well-being for some very important people – the learners, faculty, and staff of the College of Medicine.
This position was well-considered and had immediate partnership with members of the College of Medicine, UK HealthCare, and the University at-large who are deeply committed to enhancing wellness and well-being.

Q: What are your first goals now that you have joined us?

A: As I establish the Office of Wellness and Well-Being, my first objective is to listen, observe, inquire, and assess. I want to learn about what is working, what is not, and how I can offer support. Every staff member, every learner, every faculty member is deserving of accessible resources and work culture that supports overall well-being and happiness. It’s important that is created and implemented and directly reflects the voices of those who will benefit.

I’ll be asking a lot of questions in the next few months, and I welcome all answers. 

Q: Why is a focus on improving faculty, staff, and trainee wellness so important to the success of the College of Medicine?

A: Because in order to do well, one must be well. This goes for individuals and for work cultures.

There is a collective conversation taking place globally about the need for colleges of medicine, research, and health care systems to recognize and respond to the increasing burnout and disengagement rates of learners, staff, and faculty. This trajectory has been set for a while, and it is encouraging to see a commitment from colleges and systems by investing in positions and programs that will boost the wellness of faculty, staff, and learners. The members of the College of Medicine community exert tremendous energy to take care of others, so we, as the organization, must take care of them.   

Q: What are some of your key helpful tips and practices to improve wellness?

A: The most impactful tip that I have is to set boundaries and learn to say no. I have spent nearly a decade supporting high achievers shift from burnout to balance. The most common theme among these high achievers in burnout was that they say yes to everything and were overcommitted at work and in their personal lives… and the one thing they weren’t saying yes to was their personal wellness.

My tip is to consider what matters most – for your health, your career, your relationships, your spirituality – and make sure you are carving out room to say yes to those things. It’s not an easy shift, but it’s a possible and necessary one. 

One of my favorite quotes is by Sue Monk Kidd and reads, “Sometimes, in order to say yes to what matters most, we must say no to really good things.”

Q: What is currently bringing you joy?

A: At the top of the list is spending time with my family and watching my two sons play the sports they love. I am a Pilates (reformer) enthusiast and have a goal of taking at least five classes a week. And, when I’m able, I love to retreat to nature for a long hike.

Q: How can members of the college reach you?

A: I am excited to connect. I can be reached at, or pop by my office for a chat. My door is always open and I’m here to listen, learn, and help.