Dr. Brie Williams is a Professor of Medicine in the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations and a physician trained in geriatrics and palliative care. She directs Amend at UCSF and co-directs the Aging Research In Criminal Justice Health (ARCH) Network. Her work focuses on transforming correctional culture to focus on the health of residents and staff, dignity and humanity, and on bringing the science of geriatrics and palliative care to criminal justice reform. She collaborates with colleagues from diverse disciplines (including criminal justice, public safety, and the law) to conduct impact-oriented research and education.
Dr. Williams’ clinical research has called for improved responses to disability, cognitive impairment, and symptom distress in older or seriously ill incarcerated persons; a better understanding of the occupational health needs of prison staff; a more scientific development of compassionate release policies; and a broader inclusion of incarcerated people in national health datasets and in clinical research. Dr. Williams has served as a member of multiple national initiatives in the US, including the Workshop on Incarceration and Health sponsored by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and the Urban Institute’s Research in Penal Institutions. Her research has been supported by the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation, the Schusterman Family Foundation, Arnold Ventures, the National Palliative Care Research Center, the National Institute on Aging, the UC Office of the President, and the Cambia Foundation, among others.
Dr. Williams directs Amend, a training and leadership development program focused on giving correctional leaders, prison officers, and policymakers the tools needed to transform the toxic environments of many US prisons to instead focus more on health, dignity, and wellbeing. She is also a founding co-director of the Aging Research in Criminal Justice Network, funded by the National Institute on Aging, which has created a research network of over 200 academic and community members in the US working to expand research at the intersection of aging and criminal legal system involvement.
Dr. Williams has served as a consultant to jails, prisons, and legal organizations nationwide, including for the Federal Receiver of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the National ACLU. She has participated as an expert witness in several lawsuits related to the health effects of solitary confinement. In 2016, Dr. Williams provided expert testimony to the US Sentencing Commission on proposed changes to Compassionate Release policies, recommendations which were later incorporated into the First Step Act.