36 M.D. Director, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine – Queens Hospital Center, N.Y.
Williams Gibbs, M.D., took an unusual route to a career in medicine. A well-known body builder and personal trainer in the late ‘80s, he was passionate about healthy living and took a keen interest in preventing and treating physical and sports-related injuries, rehabilitation and pain management. He graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned a medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica, British West Indies. He interned at New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens and fulfilled his residency at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Gibbs, who recently married, was born in Brooklyn to Haitian immigrants. He is fluent in Creole and French. As director of rehabilitation medicine at Queens Hospital Center, he strives to see his patients transition smoothly from an acute hospital setting to outpatient therapy to enjoying a functional lifestyle. “I give my parents credit for all of my professional achievements and success,” he says. “They had a strong belief in God, a relentless work ethic and a firm understanding of the priority and sanctity of family. They instilled all of these fundamental principles in my brother and me.”
He loves the late Reginald Lewis’s admonition to “keep going, no matter what” and believes in practicing what he preaches. “As I advise my patients to live a healthy lifestyle, I eat right and go to the gym whenever possible,” he says.
If he could, Gibbs would spend more time with his wife and do more volunteer work with minority seniors and children, teaching them about the importance of healthy eating and exercise. He co-founded Healthy Lifestyles, one of the few programs in New York City aimed at combating childhood obesity through a comprehensive approach, using a team of dietitians, pediatricians and physical therapists to work with overweight children. The program teaches the kids how to select healthy foods and how to exercise regularly, even under time and space constraints. Gibbs speaks to community-based groups whenever possible.