Joy Williams Honored with “Legacy” Scholarship at SNMA’s 38th Annual Senior Awards Banquet

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May 20, 2016 – The Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies (GEMS) program is honoring its former director of 35 years with a scholarship in her name.

The Joy Phinizy Williams Legacy Scholarship was revealed Thursday at the 38th annual Student National Medical Association Senior Awards Banquet. Stephen Ray Mitchell, MD, dean for medical education, made the surprise announcement.

The scholarship honors her “advocacy for the most vulnerable populations in society, and her lifetime commitment to empowering the dreams of under-represented students entering the profession of medicine,” said David L. Taylor, MEd, associate dean for student learning and director of GEMS.

“Those of you who know me know I am rarely at a loss for words,” said Williams. “But I really am surprised. And I’m really pleased. How could you keep something like this from me!” 

Williams was GEMS director for 35 years before retiring in 2014.

Honoring GEMS

For nearly 40 years, Georgetown University School of Medicine has supported the GEMS program, a one-year, non-degree, post-baccalaureate preparatory program for promising students from disadvantaged backgrounds whose circumstances have contributed to modest academic credentials.

Through extra preparation and strong mentoring, an overwhelming majority of students who complete the GEMS program go on to complete medical school while others pursue work in additional health care fields.

In 2016, 23 former GEMS will graduate from Georgetown’s medical school.

During the banquet awards dinner, several former GEMS, who are now medical students, were honored for excellence, leadership and for their support of fellow students, reflecting the nurturing nature of the GEMS program. Two faculty members were also honored.


Gregory Threatte, M.D. Award
Rayond Khargi, SOM’17 and former GEMS

Presented annually to a third year student who is identified by first and second year students, and GEMS as being most supportive. This individual has offered advice, made themselves available and given encouragement along the way. This award is given in appreciation for their inspiration, guidance and support.

Crystal Award
Tamika Auguste, MD, associate professor, obstetrics and gynecology

Presented to a member of the faculty identified by the senior graduates who has demonstrated outstanding service and given extraordinary support to minority students.  This award is given in recognition of their diligence and commitment to the education of students at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Diamond Award
Dean David Taylor, MEd, associate dean for student learning and director of GEMS

The diamond award is presented to a member of the faculty who has consistently provided phenomenal support and guidance to minority students. Faculty members are eligible for the diamond award after being awarded a crystal award three times.  

Dean’s Award
Kelly Smith, SOM’17 and former GEMS

Established by Dr. Milton Corn in 1989, the Dean’s Award recognizes a former GEMS student for exemplary academic performance during the second year of medical school.

Heinz Bauer, M.D. Award
Versha Patel, SOM’16 and former GEMS

Established in 1984, the Heinz Bauer Humanitarian Award recognizes a graduating minority student who best exemplifies the principles of integrity, leadership, scholarship and humanism for which Dr. Bauer was known.

Arthur H. Hoyte Award
Jeanne Larsen, former GEMS and liaison, Dahlgren Medical Library

The Arthur Hoyte, MD Award is given to a member of the Georgetown faculty, staff or community who advances Dr. Hoyte’s legacy of advocacy in medical education through support of the GEMS Program and the office of diversity & inclusion.


Karen Teber
GUMC Communications