A Place of Our Own
ON THE SURFACE, Dr. Kimberly Williams is a human dynamo, constantly in motion. After beginning each morning with a 5:45 workout regimen, Dr. Williams spends her day treating nephrology patients across the Northshore. With offices in Abita Springs, Madisonville, Hammond and Denham Springs—along with hospital rounds and overseeing the recent opening of A Place of Our Own, a pediatric day health care center for medically fragile children—her swift pace may seem a bit overwhelming to some. However, once she enters an exam or hospital room, everything changes. Dr. Williams spends as much time with her patients as they need.
From an early age, Dr. Williams knew she wanted to become a physician. When she was growing up, her parents Drewrome and Patricia Williams would take her and her siblings to volunteer at local hospitals and with organizations like the Red Cross.“I think they tricked us because they wanted us to fall in love with the medical profession” she joked. “It didn’t really work for my brother and sisters, but it sure worked for me!”
Originally thinking she would specialize in cardiology, she changed her mind after taking a nephrology rotation the last semester of her intern year. A field of medicine that concentrates on the treatment of kidney problems and renal replacement therapy, Dr. Williams said she knew immediately that nephrology would become her passion.
“There is a continuity you have with dialysis patients that I enjoyed. I liked getting to know them; seeing them on a regular basis.”
Following her residency, Dr. Williams applied and was accepted into the Nephrology Fellowship Training Program overseen by LSU School of Medicine and Ochsner Hospital. She completed her two-year training in 2006. Because both doctors and patients were displaced during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she took a position at Montgomery Kidney Specialists in Montgomery, AL. As natives of South Louisiana, she and her husband Darian Clark (whom she married earlier in 2006) knew they wanted to return to the area as soon as the New Orleans medical community stabilized. They moved to the Northshore in 2008.
During their time in Montgomery, Darian pursued a business venture that has since expanded into the New Orleans area as well. An entrepreneur by nature, Dr. Williams said that within one week of searching for a smoothie shop in Montgomery and finding none, Darian had developed a business plan to start his own. The first Smoothies & Things opened in 2007. There are now two locations in Montgomery, one in New Orleans and one on the Southeastern campus in Hammond.
Dr. Williams explained that Darian’s entrepreneurial spirit inspired her to start her own nephrology practice in 2010. Her offices in Madisonville and Abita Springs are in cooperation with Dr. John Angelo and Dr. Cheryl Brown. The three also run Abita Square and Renal South dialysis units. Her offices in Denham Springs and Hammond are run with the assistance of her Nurse Practitioner Sarah Callaway.
“While I divide my time between the offices, I make sure there is always someone on call and available to handle any medical emergencies that arise. This allows me to address the broad need for nephrology care in the area while still providing the personal care I want to give my patients,” she said.
Patients are referred to Dr. Williams through their primary care physicians. During the initial evaluation, she assesses kidney function and consults with her patients as to next steps. Because there are different types of kidney disease, underlying causes, and varying degrees of severity, Dr. Williams works with each patient individually to determine the best course of action.
Dr. Williams said patients who have kidney dysfunction as a result of over the counter non-steroidal medicines such as ibuprofen, can see improvement once the medicine is discontinued. For patients with advanced kidney disease, however, dialysis may be the only treatment option until a kidney transplant is performed.
When that is the case, Dr. Williams schedules a series of educational sessions to prepare her patients—both physically and psychologically. “Part of my job is to show patients that dialysis doesn’t have to be as traumatic as they fear. The internet is filled with negative, and often outdated, stories from dialysis patients. We clear up misinformation, and very clearly go through what they can expect.”
“In some cases, patients can even receive dialysis treatments in their own homes. Some continue to work and go to college, adjusting their activities to their dialysis treatment schedule,” she added. “I want all of my dialysis patients to understand that they can still be able to live relatively normal lives.”
Dr. Williams is also helping to bring a sense of normalcy to parents of medically fragile children. This past summer, she worked with local medical administrator Tammy Oser to open A Place of Our Own Pediatric Day Health Care Center in Covington. The center serves medical needs children, six-months to five years of age who are not eligible for enrollment in regular day care facilities or pre-schools because they require medical intervention throughout the day. Pediatrician referrals are required for admission.
Explaining her reasons for getting involved with A Place of Our Own, Dr. Williams again credited her parents, and her early exposure to community service. “They taught us compassion and the importance of helping people with different needs” she explained. “It was another opportunity to help fill a need in the community.”
Dr. Kimberly Williams M.D., Nephrologists’ office is located at 397 Highway 21, Suite 601, Arbor Walk Plaza in Madisonville. To contact the Madisonville and Abita office call 985-845-9000. The Hammond office is located at 42334 Deluxe Plaza and she can be reached at 985-902-8853.