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Top Transplant Expert To Lead Ohio State Program

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Posted: 7/6/2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dr. Robert Higgins has been named to lead Ohio State University Medical Center’s solid organ transplant program. The highly respected surgeon is a former president of the United Network for Organ Sharing and comes to Ohio State from Rush University in Chicago.

His appointment is pending approval by The Ohio State University Board of Trustees.

Higgins will direct Ohio State’s comprehensive transplant program, which includes heart, kidney, liver, pancreas and combined kidney/pancreas. He also will lead the division of cardiac surgery.

In international transplant circles, the recruitment of Higgins to Ohio State is very significant, according to Dr. Steven Gabbe, CEO of OSU Medical Center. “We all are very excited that he is joining us,” said Gabbe, who led the recruiting effort.

“Bob already has a long list of accomplishments in the field of transplantation – both as a surgeon and administrator -- and is considered a rising star among his peers,” added Gabbe. “We have respected programs in cardiac surgery and transplantation, each with very distinguished accomplishments. I’m certain with Bob’s leadership, there will be many milestones ahead to celebrate.”

Pending board approval, Higgins will hold the John H. and Mildred C. Lumley Medical Research Chair. The prestigious chair provides funding to a nationally eminent faculty member.

Higgins earned his medical degree at Yale University School of Medicine and completed his residency in general surgery at Hospitals of the University Health Center in Pittsburgh, where he served as chief resident. He completed his training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he was a Winchester Scholar and fellow in cardiothoracic surgery.

As chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Rush, Higgins led a successful transplant and mechanical assist device program for seven years. He served as chair of cardiothoracic surgery at the Medical College of Virginia from 1999-2003. Prior to that, he founded a successful lung transplant program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. From 1989 to 2004, he served as a major in the United States Army Reserve Medical Corps.

His many national leadership appointments include serving as president of the United Network for Organ Sharing in 2008-2009, president of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, member of the Thoracic Committee of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and member of the Public Policy Committee of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.

His clinical interests include transplantation and mechanical circulatory support, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and outcome assessment for heart failure and cardiac surgery patients.

He has an extensive list of publications in his field, and is a frequent invited speaker nationally and abroad.

Ohio State University Medical Center's Comprehensive Transplant Center is home to one of the largest kidney transplant programs in the country. Ohio State performed its first kidney transplant in 1967. Today, Ohio State’s transplant surgeons perform more than 250 kidney transplants per year.


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David Crawford
Medical Center Communications