Dr. Richard R. Williams, founder of Western Michigan University's holistic health program, died Feb. 5. He was 77.
Williams, a recognized pioneer in biofeedback and neurofeedback, was an associate professor of health and human services. He joined the WMU faculty in 1970 and left the University in 1984 to engage full time in private practice and other endeavors.
He began his faculty service in the general studies unit as an assistant professor of social sciences teaching interdisciplinary studies in the behavioral sciences.
Richard R. Williams
While at WMU, Williams established in 1975 the first University-based clinical and research center in the Midwest for the promotion of self-regulation studies. Seven years later, he founded what was then WMU's Specialty Program in Holistic Health. Now named the integrative holistic health and wellness program, it offers a graduate certificate and an undergraduate minor and is one of only four similar higher education programs in the country.
Williams was involved in a variety of professional activities during his career. They included serving as the founding president of the Biofeedback Society of Michigan, founding and serving as director of the Cancer Counseling Program at Borgess Medical Center's Midwest Oncology Center, founding and directing the Institute for Holistic Medicine at Borgess Medical Center, and founding his own clinic, Health Psychology, as well as co-founding Kalamazoo's ADHD Institute.
He was a member of professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association, Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, International Society of Neuronal Regulation, Biofeedback Certification Institute of America, and National Register of Healthcare Providers.
Prior to coming to WMU, Williams taught at Central Missouri State College, was a research assistant for the Citizens Conference on State Legislatures in Kansas City, Mo.; and a staff psychologist working at clinics in Kansas and Missouri. He also served in the U.S. Army, playing the trumpet and then composing for and directing the Army Band.
He earned a bachelor's degree in 1961 from Kansas State College and a doctoral degree in 1969 from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Williams' life will be celebrated during a memorial event at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13, in the Parkview Hills Clubhouse, 3707 Greenleaf Circle in Kalamazoo. A reception will follow. RSVP at drrichardwilliams.com.
Memorial gifts may be made to a charity of choice; the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Grand Rapids, Mich., at abvimichigan.org; or Doctors for Global Health in Decatur, Ga., at dghonline.org.