Inherited Cholesterol Disorders--Familial Hypercholesterolemia

     In 1989 Roger R. Williams, M.D. founded the MEDPED project in Utah.  By 1994, along with a handful of colleagues, Roger launched the MEDPED Project throughout the U.S. and now up to 38 other countries.
     This landmark screening and registration program has helped identify thousands of people affected with FH throughout the world. The importance of his work for the MEDPED program will never be forgotten.
     Dr. Williams  often mentioned his "shocking introduction" to FH at the age of fourteen.  His fit and athletic neighbor dropped dead on a golf course at age 42.   He was even more shocked to find that the neighbor's relatives had
expected this outcome, due to similar deaths in the neighbor's family.  Although he didn't understand why this happened, Dr. Williams never forgot his neighbor, his widow and their four children.  This tragedy prompted him to choose a career in medicine to find out why this happened.
    His first research project, as assistant professor of medicine, was  Characterizing Coronary-Prone Pedigrees."  His neighbor's family was the first family he studied.  He diagnosed the family as having FH, and since then, helped many of the family members receive the benefit of vigorous cholesterol lowering therapy by both diet and appropriate medications. 
    After many years of  research, Dr. Williams concluded that, despite the advances in understanding FH, most persons with FH are either
not diagnosed or not adequately treated, which results in early, often fatal, heart attacks. He knew this tragedy was preventable and he started a public health and preventive medicine campaign to Make Early Diagnosis to Prevent Early Deaths, now known around the world as the MEDPED FH project.

    Dr. Roger Williams, founder of the Inherited High Cholesterol Foundation, died in the airplane crash of Swissair Flight 111 on September 2, 1998. He was on his way to Geneva to chair two day-long meetings; the World Health Organization (WHO) meeting,  and the International MEDPED meeting,  where he would promote the identification and effective treatment of FH patients worldwide.     
     Dr. Williams held many positions in his medical career including, founder and director of the University of Utah's Cardiovascular Genetics Research Clinic.  Although he was one of the medical school's most successful faculty members in obtaining research grants, his family came first.  At the top of his  biographical sketch, under "Personal," he always concluded: "Happily married with seven children. (Most important accomplishment and responsibility.)"
    He will be deeplymissed by all who knew him and whose lives were touched by him.