Since graduating from Brownstown Central High School in 2011, Stephanie Williams spent 11 years living in Indianapolis.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in biology with a chemistry major from the University of Indianapolis in 2015 and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Marian University in 2019. Her last two years in medical school were spent on clinical rotations in the Indy area.
During that time, she learned family medicine would be her specialty for her residency, which she completed at Community Hospital East, also in the Hoosier State’s capital city.
When she decided to follow the medical field track, Williams said it was always her goal to return to her roots.
In college and medical school, she worked in the laboratory at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour and shadowed Dr. David Hartung at Schneck Primary Care — Jackson Park on some rotations.
On Aug. 1, Williams, 30, found herself behind the desk where Hartung once sat, as she’s the newest family medicine physician at the Seymour office. Hartung is still with Schneck Primary Care but is based at the Schneck Professional Building on the hospital’s campus.
“I consider him a mentor. … Then now to be in the office that he was in, that I was sitting here as a student, it’s the weirdest thing,” Williams said, smiling. “It’s a very surreal feeling. It is very special, so you don’t take it for granted. But it does make you feel like you have to pinch yourself, like this is real life.”
Williams and her husband, Elijah, are now living in Seymour.
“To think you’re actually getting to do the thing that you talked about doing, it’s a surreal feeling to think, ‘Hey, when you actually put that work in and you put that effort and dedication, it will reap rewards for you.’ It’s just amazing,” she said. “I felt like the hospital and the people that work here were very helpful and very willing and open to help me get through all of those phases, so I think it’s almost a way of giving back to the people that assisted you.”
A native of Norman, Williams grew up with a father who worked as a paramedic, so the medical field was always talked about in her family, and she developed interest in that.
When she was a freshman at BCHS, her older sister, Lindsey, was injured at a concert when a crowd surfer fell on her. Lindsey’s neck was broken, and she had to see different specialists and receive physical therapy. Stephanie accompanied her on several of those appointments and helped however she could.
“How meaningful some of those doctor’s office visits were for our family, I think that’s when I felt like, ‘OK, that’s what I want to do. I want to do something where I can try to make a difference, help somebody,’” she said. “I enjoyed school, and I always seemed to do OK in school, so I figured ‘How can I do both of those things?’ That’s probably what made me think I want to be a physician.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Williams was part of the third class of Marian’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program.
While some doctors have MD after their name, Williams has DO.
“Same thing as medical school, but we do osteopathic manipulative training as part of our educational curriculum, so we get that little added bonus on there when we graduate,” she said. “We could do OMT on patients, like chiropractic work. A huge part of our training with the musculoskeletal system, we had to do certain manipulations, chiropractic work on patients. We have that ability to use that if patients want that.”
Her first two years of medical school were in class on campus, and the final two were clinical rotations in some required fields of study and some electives based on her interests.
In her third year at Marian, Williams decided family medicine best suited her.
“I initially thought I wanted to do dermatology, and then I thought I wanted to do reproductive endocrinology, and then I thought I wanted to do OB (obstetrics) work,” she said. “But I finally figured out that I really like women’s health, I don’t like surgery at all and I want a schedule that’s going to be more conducive to a family.”
She wanted a good balance of work and family time, and family medicine best fit that lifestyle. She said she did several rotations in rural locations and really liked that office setting.
“I like the different types of patients,” she said. “You can take care of a newborn baby all the way up to your elderly population and everybody in between for all different types of things, so you never get bored. It keeps you on your toes, so I think that’s probably when I decided I wanted to do it, when I found out I got a lot of interest, these are the things that are important to me, I can get all of those things with this.”
Several of the providers she shadowed had known families for years.
“They are taking care of a kid that they might have delivered and taking care of their kids,” Williams said. “That ability to be able to do that and have the connection that you can create with people, that, I think, was another big thing that made me want to choose family medicine because you can’t really get that with a lot of other specialties.”
Williams was matched with the residency program at Community Hospital East and graduated in June of this year.
Well before that, she had expressed interest in returning closer to home. She had received the George H. James Scholarship that Schneck offers to medical school students.
“Especially through that scholarship, there was always a discussion about ‘Where do you see yourself when you come back to practice?’” she said. “I think there has always been some feelers out there about coming back to Schneck, and they were really, really nice about fostering that relationship.”
Getting the opportunity to come back where she was raised to do something she dedicated 11 years of her life working toward, Williams said the accomplishment gives her a sense of pride.
“Of course, you have your own self-pride you were able to get through it, but other people help you get through it,” she said. “My husband now and then my family, I don’t know how people get through that without having a good support system, and I had a really good support system, so for me, it seems like all of our accomplishment.”
Settling into her new job, Williams said she is working on building her patient list. Some have come through Dr. Randy Brown retiring earlier this year, and some have come from people coming in without a provider.
She said it has been nice to talk to a patient and find out they know her or somebody in her family.
“That has been something that’s really special, and I think that’s part of the fact when you come back and work in a small town, a lot of people know a lot of people and you find that you’re connected to people in various different ways,” she said.
They also like having a doctor who is familiar with the area, Williams said.
“I’m familiar with the locations and just the lifestyle that people are accustomed to around here. That has been nice,” she said. “I think it definitely gives you a more grounded feeling where you’re practicing, a more relatable feeling to your patients.”
She said she plans to be here for a while and set her roots here.
“I want to grow a patient panel that I can see them grow. They can grow with me, and as I see them grow, grow as a physician as they are going through their life,” she said.
“And I think just the connections with your office and people that you’re going to see every day, I’m looking forward to that,” she said. “You always hear about some of these physicians that people have known for years. That’s what I want. I want to be somebody that years down the road, somebody can say, ‘Oh yeah, you remember Dr. Williams.’ I want to make a legacy here for myself.”
For others interested in the medical field, Williams said it’s important to have a goal, a desire and a passion, put the work in and be dedicated.
“It’s a lot of years of dedication, and you want to make sure that it’s something you really want to do and it’s something that’s going to make you happy and it’s something that at the end of your life, you’re going to be proud of what you spent your time doing,” she said. “A lot of people spend a majority of their time at their job, so I want the job that I’m doing to mean something. I want to be proud of what I’m spending my time with.”
Name: Stephanie Williams
Education: Brownstown Central High School (2011); University of Indianapolis (Bachelor of Science in biology with a chemistry minor, 2015); Marian University (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, 2019); Community Hospital East (family medicine residency, 2022)
Occupation: New family medicine physician at Schneck Primary Care — Jackson Park in Seymour
Family: Husband, Elijah Williams; parents, Dina and Michael Harris; sisters, Lindsey Huntsinger and Amanda Loyd
At a glance
Schneck Primary Care — Jackson Park is at 1124 Medical Place, Seymour.
For information, call 812-522-1613 or visit schneckmed.org/locations/schneck-primary-care-jackson-park.