Headshot Image of smiling black woman wearing glasses and a headband

UTMB heals patient; gains a grateful team member

A few months ago, Tara Williams began her journey with UTMB as a patient service specialist in Angleton; however, her journey with the institution began long before that—in early 2022—as a patient herself.

After being involved in a severe, head-on collision on Feb. 3, 2022, Williams was rushed to UTMB’s Jennie Sealy Hospital where she would stay for two weeks.

Image of a car with a crumpled hood, exposed engine and missing bumper

But that first 14 days were just the beginning of the long road of recovery she had ahead of her.

“[During the accident] my face slammed into the windshield and my right wrist broke as well,” Williams said, recounting the experience that brought her to UTMB. “I had an external fixator attached to my right ankle for ten months, and I had to stay in bed with my leg elevated.”

Fast forward to October 2022, and the fixator was removed, only to be replaced by a cast in December.

“I had physical therapy in Angleton, and they taught me how to walk again,” she says. “I was like a baby.”

Now, she’s in a boot and, according to her care team, the bones have healed, but she might develop arthritis as she ages.

“I’m OK still using my boot and cane to get around,” she said.

With more than a decade’s worth of experience working in health care before the wreck, Williams was no stranger to the industry. However, her experience with Dr. John Hagedorn, orthopedic surgeon and chief of Orthopedic Trauma Surgery; orthopedic physician’s assistant Andrew Goldstein; and the full Galveston and Angleton teams that assisted in her journey left her transformed—and not just physically.

“They brought me back to life. Because of that experience, I knew I wanted to become part of the UTMB team," she said."I believe everything happens for a reason and this is where God wants me to be.”

In her role as a PSS, Williams helps check in patients for their appointments, verifies insurance coverage, creates estimates and more.

“We wear many hats at the front desk,” she said.

No matter what transactional duties Williams is tackling, she does it all with an aim of making the patients feel welcome, safe and heard.

“I am an open and honest person who is passionate about helping people in our community as much as I can,” she said. “I’ve always been a helper and believe I was put on this earth to help people, so I don’t mind taking the extra steps to assist anyone in need.”

Despite all she’s had to overcome, Williams maintains a positive outlook on life, something she’s always tried to do. Mind over matter, she says.

“UTMB has taught me so much that I didn’t know about myself and what I can accomplish,” she said. “I’m so grateful to be here with UTMB.”