For March’s CHEA Spotlight, we are featuring Dr. Eve Higginbotham, SM, MD, ML! She is the inaugural Vice Dean for Inclusion and Diversity of the Perelman School of Medicine and sits at the head of the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (OIDE). Dr. Higginbotham is also a Senior fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute and a Professor of Ophthalmology. She has been an executive sponsor of CHEA since its inception. Coming out of Black History Month and entering Women’s History Month, it is an honor to feature a Black woman who has made historical strides in medicine.
She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemical engineering from MIT. From there, she attended Harvard Medical School and later completed her residency in ophthalmology at LSU Eye Center. In 2020, she received a Masters of Law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Since beginning her position in 2013, there has been a 50% increase in the number of underrepresented faculty at Penn Medicine. Her career at Penn comes on the latter end of a very successful career in academia. She was the dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine before she became the Senior Vice President of Health Sciences at Howard University, overseeing all health sciences-related activities at the University. Prior to that, for 12 years, she was the Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.
Dr. Higginbotham is a current member of the Defense Health Board, advisory to the Secretary of Health Affairs of the Department of Defense, Board of Directors of Ascension, a member of the Finance and Audit Committees, and chairs the Quality committee for the health system. She is a member of the Board of the AΩA Medical Honor Society of which she leads the Leadership Development Committee, and a member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Ophthalmology. She is a Vice Chair of the NEI-supported Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study, a randomized clinical trial, recently funded for a 20-year follow-up study of this unique cohort of patients. She is currently a member of the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Glaucoma Society, American Clinical and Climatological Association, National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Additionally, she is involved in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Advisory Board and the Visiting Committees of the Institute of Medical Engineering and Science and Undergraduate and Graduate Education at MIT. She formerly chaired her section of the National Academy of Medicine and is a former member of the NAM membership committee.
She is also a practicing glaucoma specialist; she has co-edited four ophthalmology textbooks. Dr. Higginbotham continues to publish scholarship related to inclusion, glaucoma, and disparities in patient care. In a partnership between OIDE and CHEA, Dr. Higginbotham spearheaded the Action for Cultural Transformation (ACT) at Penn Medicine. It emerged in summer 2020. ACT is an interactive, collaborative process to identify key strategies to promote equity and eliminate racism and bias in science and education. The six strategic priorities of ACT are: clinical, research, education, community, people, and culture. Its purpose is to drive leadership, engagement, and accountability within the health system. ACT has included over 5500 voices to contribute to its development.
Dr. Higginbotham is a remarkable, trailblazing woman. The work she does and her achievements are incredible. We are incredibly lucky to have her at Penn, and even more grateful for her continued, devoted support of our Center.