PHILADELPHIA — Eve J. Higginbotham, SM, MD, has been named the first Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, effective August 1, 2013.
Prior to joining Penn Medicine, Dr. Higginbotham held numerous academic leadership roles, including Senior Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences at Howard University and Dean and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Most recently, she served as a Visiting Scholar for Health Equity at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in Washington, D.C.
“As part of an overarching mission to promote faculty excellence, we created the Vice Dean position to strengthen our focus on enhancing diversity and multicultural inclusion within the academic, educational and clinical missions of the medical school,” said J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine. “Our search led us to an academic physician with a robust track record as an impactful and forward-thinking leader in the academic medical world and community.”
“I am confident she will be a great partner and source of innovation to the leaders across the Perelman School of Medicine as we continue our important work to foster a vibrant and dynamic environment for faculty and students,” he added.
Dr. Higginbotham has a wide range of research interests, from ocular pharmacology to health disparities and policy, and has extensive experience conducting clinical trials, specifically the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study, a multi-center, randomized trial that has significantly changed the care of ocular hypertensive patients.
She earned her SB and SM in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed a glaucoma fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, and is a board-certified ophthalmologist, with a subspecialty in glaucoma.
She went on to become the first woman to head an ophthalmology department at an academic medical center in the United States, serving as chair of the Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Department at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Dr. Higginbotham’s focus on diversity has been a continuous thread her entire life and career. From her experiences growing up in the deep south, integrating an elementary school, to delivering a speech upon graduating from medical school about the importance of diversifying the health care workforce, her passion to build an inclusive culture endures.
More recently, her interests have turned to public health and health policy as a Visiting Scholar in Health Equity at the AAMC, where she engaged in developing strategies to mobilize urban-based universities in America to diversify and grow the pipeline for the health professions and the development of programs that foster vitality for all faculty in schools of medicine.
She is also the current Chair of the FDA Advisory Committee for Ophthalmology Devices Panel, and she is a member of the Institute of Medicine Roundtable for the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities, the Defense Health Board of the Department of Defense, and the Special Medical Advisory Committee to the Undersecretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition to advancing the diversity and inclusion agenda as Vice Dean, Dr. Higginbotham plans to actively continue her research interests in ophthalmology, public health and health policy.
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.