Kayode A. Williams, MD, MBA, FFARCSI, Associate Professor, Division of Pain Medicine and Pain Research

Dr. Kayode Williams joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2005 and served as director of the Blaustein Pain Treatment Center from 2009 to 2011. He also holds a joint appointment in the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Clinically, Dr. Williams sees a general population of patients with chronic pain, but primarily those with spine pain, neuropathic pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and nerve injury pain. He also treats patients with pain from rheumatologic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis (an inflammatory disease of the spine), who are no longer responding to medication. His primary area of interest is spinal cord stimulation (SCS). SCS delivers pulses of electricity to the spinal cord to change the electrical messages that pain nerves carry to the brain. It is used to address nerve pain from a variety of different causes in the trunk and extremities. SCS is highly effective in a select population of patients, but its exact mechanism of action is still under investigation.

In his research, Dr. Williams studies SCS with the two-fold goal of understanding how the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system change as a result of disease, injury, and nerve damage and finding ways to use devices such as the SCS to return patients to normal function with minimal use of medications. One new area of research that Dr. Williams hopes to explore is whether SCS can be used for pain that is not neuronal in origin. In particular, he plans to collaborate with Gastroenterology to determine whether SCS can be used to treat chronic abdominal pain from conditions such as chronic pancreatitis, abdominal scar tissue, and inflammatory bowel disease. He is also looking at different ways of delivering the electrical pulses to improve the response and permit its use in more patients.

In another avenue of research, Dr. Williams is working to increase the efficiency of academic healthcare practices. Academic centers are being asked to see more patients, deliver more cost-effective care, and continue to train the best future providers. He is developing business operation processes and tools that he believes will increase efficiency while improving the quality of care, enhancing the patient experience, and augmenting physician training.

Dr. Williams finds great fulfillment in his various research projects but is most rewarded by providing patient care and seeing the joy in patients’ eyes when he is able to help them. His goal is to provide the same level of care to each patient as he would to a family member.

Education: Dr. Williams received his medical degree in Nigeria and completed his Anesthesiology residency training in the United Kingdom before coming to the U.S. to do an Anesthesiology residency and Pain Medicine fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (1997–2002). After completing his fellowship training, he went on to earn an MBA in 2004  at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.