Heather Williams, MD, insists on her role to socially improve the community that surrounds her. And it’s through this goal that she has become an inspiration to career and family-oriented men and women who are just as grateful for life’s opportunities as she is — and as eager to balance it all!
Text by Luisana Suegart Photos by Antonio Eli | July 4, 2018 | People

To describe Heather Williams as busy would be a severe understatement. The mother of 2 has a household to anchor (with help from her husband, Gregory) while balancing an always-on-the-go career as an orthopedic surgeon and rallying Key Biscayne mothers to participate in social experiences in and around the island with one another as often as possible.
But before we get into how she balances it all, we must first learn how she got to this point in her life in the first place. Heather C. Williams, MD, grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as the only Cuban girl in her school, and seemingly in town. “My family spent a lot of time together, especially in the long winters,” she says. “The strong family values and good work ethic they taught me made a lasting impression that remains with me even today.”
Wanting to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, a family practitioner in Cuba, she completed medical school at Indiana University because of its proximity to home. It was the perfect fit. “The first day I spent in the operating room wearing the space suits and assisting on hip replacements, I knew I would specialize in orthopedics,” she recalls.
After that day, destiny took its course. She completed her orthopedic residency at George Washington University in D.C., before opportunities landed her in the Key in 2005 when her husband joined a practice at Mercy Hospital while she was beginning a fellowship in Hand Surgery at the University of Miami.
Driven by family values, Williams decided to open her own practice closer to home after the birth of her daughter, Emilia. “I think I’m successful because I see my profession as a vocation,” she says. “The office is just an extension of my home. My ability to spend so much time with the kids lets me enjoy my time treating patients even more. I’ve always heard that if you love your job you’ll never feel like it’s work.”
Although she may enjoy her work, it doesn’t mean it’s any less time-consuming. And as a devoted mother and wife, every moment counts. “Being a female orthopedic surgeon makes me special in many different ways,” she says, adding that she proudly and very personally completes every interview, examination, X-ray and test for each of her patients. She also applies each cast and splint, and performs all of the surgeries, even taking out the stitches. “I’m always very honest and truthful with my patients,” she says. “I think our job as physicians is to educate patients and let them make an informed decision.”
To maintain the steady flow between her duties at the office and her role at home, Williams is a devout athlete and healthy baker who takes full advantage of the natural amenities of the community around her. “We spend a lot of time at the beach where the kids can run around and just be kids,” she says. “In the afternoons, we’re always outside walking our dog, Bear, playing Frisbee or riding our bikes.” As an involved parent, Williams is making it a point to lend support to moms on the Key as the organizer of the Key Biscayne Mommies Group, sponsored by What started off as a small Google group grew into a network of about 50 moms who organize fun and educational activities that allow their children to interact with one another. “We hope to provide a network of women who love our families and care about Key Biscayne so that we can keep our children safe and make this place better and better,” she says. “Since my mother always stayed home with us, I’ve struggled with working outside the home. At the end of the day, I make sure that the kids know how much I love them. I make a point of spending quality time with both of them every single day.”
Accordingly, Williams now tries to be home more in the evenings. “I explain to my children that sometimes other people need me, too, and that I have to help them the best that I can. I hope that they will see that women can have successful careers and fulfilling family lives and that my example will push them to achieve that balance in their lives as well.”
If they are anything like their mother, we are sure they will turn out just fine. And when all else fails, this savvy scholar leaves it to none other than research to save the day. “I figure that someone else has been through a similar experience before me at one point or another, so I ask family and friends for their thoughts, read the literature, and brainstorm about possible solutions.”
In the end, she aims to make it all better. Her goals? The first is for her children to get the best education possible and to have the opportunity to pursue their talents and interests (at ages 2 and 4, these so far include swimming, climbing, singing and dancing). The second is to make this world a little greener by making her office completely electronic and paper-free. And, with a buoyant vision of what lies ahead, she looks forward to participating in this country’s healthcare reform.
“The physicians — and not the insurance companies —will be the key to the solution,” she says. “Physicians have existed long before health insurance and will be around long after there is no health insurance. We are the ones who have dedicated our lives to education and training so that we can help people live healthier and longer lives.”