Member Feature: Dr. Tanya Wlliams

Dr. Tanya Williams has been practicing Obstetrics and Gynecology, Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology in Toronto for over just over 30 years. 

She was one of the physicians who helped establish the roots of what was then called the Association for Advancement of Blacks in Health Sciences–an organization that has since evolved into what we are today: The Black Physicians’ Association of Ontario.

“It’s nice to belong to a community of people who look like you,” she said.  

“I think it’s important to have a way of connecting in community.” 

She has been a proud BPAO member since its earliest days, and has been impressed by the work the organization has led over the course of the last few years since the pandemic. 

“I think what’s happening is really good for the medical community to see,” she said. 

“The work that’s been done with the vaccination clinics was amazing. Then the conference and the fantastic speakers there. Things have looked great.” 

The work of the BPAO gives physicians like Dr. Williams a  community space to rest and reflect on the impact and influence of their work outside of the clinical context. They’re able to connect with physicians that share lived experience. One of those experiences include being one of few who look like you in a room. The BPAO grants a space away from that daily norm of operating as the only, while still focusing on medicine and the varied ways it intersects with the experiences of people of African descent in the health sciences. 

In her day to day, Dr. Williams runs a fertility practice in the North York area, serving all kinds of people seeking support on their journey of starting or growing their family. There is a certain taboo associated with fertility that physicians like her are aiming to interrupt. In her practice she works to decrease the stigma associated with fertility by having conversations and sharing information around family planning. 

She  also encourages physicians of all disciplines to ask their patients questions about family planning at their annual physical, to plant the seed of prioritizing reproductive health before it’s too late. 

We asked Dr. Williams for three tips that she would offer up to community regarding fertility health and she shared the following: 

  1. General health is a good reflection of reproductive health
  2. Reduce stress and optimize relationships, especially friendships
  3. The stereotype that Black women are more fertile is myth that is rooted in racism

She stresses the importance of discussing fertility with your doctor sooner rather than later, and to prepare intentionally for the best chance of reaching your family goals.  

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