Comings, Goings and Promotions: September 2021
Higgins Named President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, has been named president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and executive vice president at Mass General Brigham, effective December 2021.
Higgins currently serves as surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital and is the William Stewart Halsted Professor of Surgery and director of the Department of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
A highly regarded and accomplished leader, Higgins is a leading authority in heart and lung transplantation, minimally invasive cardiac surgery and mechanical circulatory support. He is renowned as a world-class researcher and recognized nationally and internationally for his research in the areas of heart and lung transplantation and disparities in outcomes in cardiac surgery.
At Hopkins, Higgins led the enterprise-wide clinical expansion of the Hopkins surgical services program across the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Mid-Atlantic regions at five hospitals and multiple ambulatory locations. Higgins also oversaw the development of the surgical services program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, a pediatric acute care children’s hospital located in St. Petersburg, Fla., and led the launch of Hopkins’ first systemwide multidisciplinary service line, the Comprehensive Transplant Center.
Prior to joining Hopkins, Higgins served as Department of Surgery chair and director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and served as a senior registrar in transplantation at the renowned Papworth Hospital, the United Kingdom’s largest cardiothoracic surgical program and main heart-lung transplant center. He also served as a major in the United States Army Reserve Medical Corps for 13 years, and while doing so supported the Richmond Veterans Administration transplantation program.
Higgins has served in numerous national professional leadership roles, including president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, president of the United Network for Organ Sharing, president of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, president and founding member of the Association of Black Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons and as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.
Higgins earned his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and medical degree from Yale School of Medicine. He completed a residency in general surgery and served as chief resident at the University Hospitals of Pittsburgh. He was a Winchester Scholar and fellow in cardiothoracic surgery at the Yale School of Medicine, and earned a master’s degree in health services administration at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Higgins succeeds Sunil Eappen, MD, who has been serving as interim president since early March, when Betsy Nabel, MD, stepped down.
Brink Appointed Chair of the Department of Radiology
James A. Brink, MD, has been announced as chair of the Department of Radiology at the Brigham.
In addition, Brink has been appointed Mass General Brigham chief of Enterprise Radiology and will oversee the enterprise radiology service. He will continue to serve as radiologist-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital, a position he assumed in 2013. Under Brink’s leadership, teams across this service will work to implement best practices through clinical integration, with a focus on reducing variation and ensuring the best possible experience and outcomes for patients.
A physician and electrical engineer who received his radiology specialty training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brink served as chair of Radiology at Yale for seven years before coming to Massachusetts General Hospital as radiologist-in-chief in 2013. Brink is a past president of the American Roentgen Ray Society and the American College of Radiology and has received numerous national and international awards for his academic contributions and leadership in the specialty of radiology.
Lee Appointed Section Chief of Rhinology
Stella E. Lee, MD, has joined the Department of Surgery as an associate surgeon in the Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and section chief of Rhinology.
Before coming to the Brigham, Lee served as the division chief for Sinonasal Disorders and Allergy in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for 10 years. Lee is experienced in the comprehensive management of patients with complex rhinologic, allergic and skull base disorders. Her research interests include characterization of the inflammatory endotypes of chronic rhinosinusitis, the impact of environmental pollution on airway inflammation and advancing the care of patients with cystic fibrosis and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. She is a leader in the development of novel therapeutics and creation of new paradigms of how we conceptualize and treat sinus and skull base disorders.
Tolis Named Section Chief of Coronary Surgery and General Cardiac Surgery
George Tolis, Jr., MD, has joined the Department of Surgery as an associate surgeon in the Division of Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery, section chief of Coronary Surgery and General Cardiac Surgery and network director of Cardiac Surgery.
Before coming to the Brigham, Tolis was a visiting surgeon and the quality director for the Division of Cardiac Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. He has worked as a surgeon in other medical institutions, including Lenox Hill Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, where he served as the chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. In his Brigham role, he will work on maintaining and enhancing the cardiac surgery operations at Cape Cod Hospital, as well as developing new relationships with regional institutions under the direction of Raphael Bueno, MD, the chief of Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery.
Tolis’ clinical interests include liberal use of multiple arterial grafting in coronary bypass surgery, use of extensive coronary endarterectomy to provide operative solutions for patients who have been previously deemed inoperable, surgery for native and prosthetic valve bacterial endocarditis and open surgery to address failure of percutaneous devices. His research interests include investigation of factors affecting quality reporting of various cardiac surgical programs, which are not captured through standard risk adjustment models, and identification of optimal ways to enhance the operative surgical education of cardiothoracic surgery trainees.
Rowley Appointed Vice President of Peri-operative Services
Samantha Rowley, RN, has been named vice president of Peri-operative Services.
Rowley comes to the Brigham with 20 years of health care experience, with eight as a practicing nurse and 12 as a hospital leader. Since 2017, Rowley has served as the senior vice president for Surgical and Critical Care Services at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. In this role, she oversaw the surgical and critical care service line — including the operating rooms, procedural areas, central processing department and ICU enterprise — for a 1,000-bed institution. Rowley also served as the system clinical lead and inpatient leader for Parkland’s COVID-19 response effort last year — the largest operation in northern Texas. Prior to her current role, she served in surgical executive roles at both Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., and University of Miami Hospital in Miami.
In her new role, Rowley will serve as the senior administrative leader for peri-operative services across the Brigham family, and is accountable for overall administrative and strategic leadership, operating results and financial performance across the operation.
Jones Named Vice President of Value-Based Care, Public Policy and Administrative Operations
Bernie Jones, EdM, has assumed a new role at the Brigham as vice president, Value-Based Care, Public Policy and Administrative Operations.
In this role, Jones will oversee a newly aligned portfolio focused on delivering high-quality, affordable care to patients in primary and community-based care settings across the Brigham — supported and advanced by our public policy and advocacy initiatives — in areas that include housing insecurity and homelessness, food insecurity, and climate change and sustainability, among others.
Jones will be responsible for operational and program integration of functions and services across primary care, population health management and community health centers. Additionally, he will continue to act as the local leader responsible for all government relations activity, working under the direction of the Mass General Brigham Office of Government Affairs, and will also continue to support some of the highest-priority initiatives at the Brigham and across Mass General Brigham to help achieve local and systemwide goals.
Feldman Appointed DoM Co-Director of Health Equity Initiatives
Candace Feldman, MD, ScD, has been chosen as the new co-director of Department of Medicine (DoM) Health Equity Initiatives. Feldman is an assistant professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation and Immunity, where she is a clinician and researcher and serves as the director of Diversity and Health Equity Research and director of Community Outreach and Patient Engagement of the Brigham’s Lupus Center. She has also been deeply engaged in DoM-wide health equity efforts and has served as the co-chair of the DoM Health Equity Research Committee for the past two years.
Hugh Flanagan Jr., MD, has retired from the role of executive medical director of Periprocedural areas for the Brigham. He will remain with the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine as a part-time faculty member for the year ahead.
Flanagan began his career at the Brigham more than 50 years ago after completing residencies in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and in anesthesiology at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. He managed the Operating Rooms and Post-Anesthesia Care Unit as medical director for nearly two decades.
Flanagan has served on committees focused on quality assurance, ethics, patient care assessment, risk management, and OR and PACU expansion and capacity management, among others. Flanagan is also a devoted educator in post-anesthesia care, airway management and care of trauma patients.