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2013 Honoree: Dr. Robert S. D. Higgins, MD, MSHA


Dr Higgins PicThe District 39 Educational Foundation was honored to bestow its sixth Distinguished Citizen Award to Professor and Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Dr. Robert Higgins.

Dr. Higgins is a visionary leader, a renowned surgeon and all around exemplary community member. In 2010, he was appointed the John H. and Mildred Lumley Medical Research Chair, Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery and Director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Ohio State University, yet he chose to continue to make Wilmette his home.

In addition to being a renowned heart and lung transplant surgeon, Dr. Higgins has written over 100 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and has made dozens of presentations throughout the United States. His expertise lies in the areas of heart and lung transplantation, mechanical circulatory support, and outcome assessments for heart failure and cardiac surgery patients.

Dr. Higgins earned his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1981 and his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine in 1985. In 1993, Dr. Higgins was a senior registrar in transplantation at Cambridge University’s Papworth Hospital in England. Dr. Higgins began his surgical career as the Director of Heart and Lung Transplantation at the Henry Ford Hospital. Under his leadership, the transplant team performed the first lung transplant in Southeast Michigan. In 1997, he went on to create a Medicare approved lung transplant program and a pediatric heart transplant program in collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Michigan. In 2005, he completed a Masters in Health Administration at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Here in Wilmette our District 39 students know him as the father who has lectured on the cardiovascular system through examination and dissection in the biology labs. Many young athletes have benefited from his leadership as coach of youth football, baseball and lacrosse. Bob is married to Molly and they have three children, John, Grace and Grant. Bob Higgins is a role model for our students and a champion for our community at large. It is an honor and privilege to call this leader our neighbor.

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