Dr. Thomas Higgins of Longmeadow has joined Baystate Franklin Medical Center and the Baystate Health Northern Region as the new chief medical officer as of March 9.
Education and early career
A graduate of Boston University (BU), with a Bachelor of Arts in Medical Science, he continued at BU to earn his Medical Degree. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. He completed a residency in anesthesiology, was chief resident, and completed a fellowship in critical care at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also earned an MBA at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts.
Dr. Higgins joined Baystate Health in 1996 as chief of Baystate Medical Center’s Critical Care Division. Since 2012 he has served as vice chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Medicine and as the interim chief, Division of General Medicine/Community Health. He is a professor of Medicine, Surgery and Anesthesiology at Tufts University School of Medicine.
As chief medical officer
In his new role, Dr. Higgins will be responsible for completing the integration of clinical services lines with Baystate Medical Center and enhancing BFMC’s ICU and hospital medicine capabilities. He will also be working on increasing the number of residents and medical students in BFMC and the Northern Region, further developing telemedicine capabilities with BMC, and ensuring that physician quality of care meets national standards.
“Working in a community hospital has a very different dynamic than working in a large teaching hospital,” Dr. Higgins noted. “Knowing that the likelihood of the majority of medical students will end up working in a smaller, community hospital, one of my goals is to be sure our physicians in training are exposed to the community hospital environment.” As one of his goals as CMO at Baystate Franklin, Dr. Higgins hopes that many more medical residents will have rotations in one of the system’s community hospitals - Baystate Franklin, Baystate Mary Lane or Baystate Wing.
Hobbies and talents
Dr. Higgins has co-authored two medical textbooks on critical care, and has over 100 publications in medical journals. He recently co-authored a pictorial history of Baystate Medical Center. “Originally, my plan was to make a little brochure to give to our residents,” he admitted. “As I got into the project, it just became more fascinating and it morphed into a full length book! I hope to eventually write similar books for the other entities that make up Baystate Health.”
An enthusiastic overseas traveler and photographer, Dr. Higgins volunteers with the Himalayan Health Exchange, a month-long expedition that combines service, education and adventure to provide care to the underserved populations in select, remote areas of India.
“My trips have allowed me to both provide much-needed and much appreciated care to people in very remote areas, while getting a taste of the culture, and enjoying the opportunity to take some amazing photographs of both the people and the landscapes,” said Dr. Higgins. Because of the time commitment, he volunteers every other year, and looks forward to a unique and rewarding experience each time.
Also a musician, Dr. Higgins plays guitar in a rock band called “SutureSelf” -- most of the band members are Baystate Health physicians.
“We have a great time at our rehearsals, and tend to play mostly for charity events,” he explained. “It’s a fun release from the stresses of careers as doctors.”
Dr. Higgins and his wife, Suzanne, live in Longmeadow, where Mrs. Higgins is a third grade teacher. They have three adult children, two sons and a daughter.