Willette Burnham-Williams

Willette S. Burnham-Williams, Ph.D.
Chief Equity Officer
Assistant Professor

The Chief Equity Officer  (CEqO) is responsible for the leadership and management of MUSC’s strategic diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and multi-faceted programs. The CEqO works directly with clinical, research and academic colleagues to further MUSC’s values, priorities, mission, and vision. The CEqO and her staff are responsible for working collaboratively with internal and external community stakeholders including students, faculty and staff to ensure that organizational priorities and goals pertaining to equity, inclusion and excellence are institutionalized, sustained and measured in order to “create an inclusive experience for the lives we touch.” The Chief Equity Officer reports to MUSC President, David J. Cole, MD, and is a member of the President’s Council.

Leadership Update from David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, President, MUSC

It gives me great pleasure to let you know that Willette Burnham-Williams, Ph.D., has accepted the role of Chief Equity Officer for the enterprise wide MUSC Office of Equity and will continue her service beyond an interim capacity. She leads a team of professionals responsible for the leadership and management of MUSC’s strategic diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) intentions, initiatives and multifaceted programs. The MUSC Office of Equity supports and elevates the tripartite vision, mission and academic priorities, including a focus on elevating the enterprise DEI vision to become the preeminent model for inclusion and equity and setting a national standard among academic health systems/universities. This team of professionals is responsible for enhancing DEI professional development and skill sets across the enterprise, helping to increase the retention, recruitment and engagement of the MUSC work force, students, faculty; pipeline development; and onboarding and hiring practices. These priorities are addressed across three domains and DEI operations, including Inclusive Excellence, Health Equity and Access, Equity & Civil Rights Compliance (eg., ADA, Title IX, Title IX and EEOC) Recently, Burnham-Williams was honored alongside other Tri-county individuals and organizations for their dedication and efforts championing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, at the inaugural Lowcountry Diversity Leadership Awards presented by the Charleston Regional Business Journal and Furman University’s Riley Institute. Burnham-Williams was recognized with the first Lowcountry Diversity Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award for her sustained commitment and devotion to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and dedication to others throughout a career that includes leadership and service at three state institutions – The Citadel, College of Charleston and MUSC.