Dr. Edward “Ted” F. Higgins ’71

Headshot of Dr. Edward “Ted” F. Higgins ’71, P’10

Dr. Edward “Ted” Higgins has dedicated his life to providing top-tier surgical care to patients around the world.  A 1971 graduate of St. Lawrence, Ted earned his degree in government while playing for the University’s football and tennis teams, and serving as a dorm counselor for two years in Sykes Hall.  He was a brother of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and a member of the ‘L’ Club.  Following St. Lawrence, he attended medical school at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY.  He then completed his general surgery residency at Yale-New Haven Medical Center followed by a vascular surgical fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. 

In 2016, he established the Higgins Brothers Surgicenter for Hope in Fonds Parisien, Haiti. The goal of the surgical center was to provide surgical access in an area of Haiti with no surgical options, and to help train surgical residents from the General Hospital in Port Au Prince. In 2018, several surgical residents Ted had worked with were hired to remain in Haiti and continue the work at the Surgicenter full time. Since then, the Surgicenter has added a 24/7 emergency and trauma service for general and vascular surgery, full service obstetrics and gynecology, urology, orthopedic, and dental care. All services are provided by Haitian doctors and caregivers, performing over 600 operations and 400 deliveries annually.

In 2020, the Higgins Brothers Surgicenter for Hope inherited a failing medical clinic that was preparing to close. Over the year, the medical staff was reorganized, a medical pavilion clinic area was constructed on campus, and the medical, pediatric, obstetric, gynecological, HIV, surgical and dental clinics saw 1,600 patients in 2021. Although Covid vaccinations were not available until late in 2021, an outreach team was established early on to visit mountainside communities and inaccessible locations to inform them about Covid and instruct on prevention.

In August 2021, a massive earthquake again affected the southern peninsula of Haiti creating huge destruction and causing over 3,000 deaths. Ted joined a select surgical team from his Surgicenter to provide care for the earthquake victims. Together, they drove over the mountains on a "goat road" to avoid gangs controlling the main roads. The team of surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists brought supplies and took over a hospital still standing in the earthquake zone to provide surgical care for a week.

Ted practiced general and vascular surgery in the group he helped start in Kansas City 38 years ago. He retired from his group to devote his time to helping train surgeons in Haiti and raising funds for the Higgins Brothers Surgicenter for Hope. Ted will quickly point out the Higgins Brothers refer to his father and uncle, both surgeons in Cortland, NY, who practiced together for 36 years. Both did their mission work as surgeons during World War II.

Ted has received many awards from the Kansas City Medical Society, Kansas City Surgical Society, Research Medical Center, several magazines and newspapers for his quality service and surgical expertise. He helped establish the Research Rough Riders, a bicycle team that rides annually for multiple sclerosis. They have raised more than $1 million for MS research. Throughout his busy career, Ted continued to see surgical consults in his office from the Kansas City Care Clinic, a free health service for those without healthcare. Amongst his many accomplishments, he is, no doubt, most proud of his four wonderful children, his wife of 40 years, Kim, and three young granddaughters.

Ted considers his time at St. Lawrence as a formative period of his life.  He has always been grateful for the experiences and friends he established while on campus.  Although he was not a pre-med candidate as an undergraduate, St Lawrence helped create a view of the world that led him to a surgical career that extended far beyond his community and has benefited thousands all over the world both in the surgical training he delivered and the care he provided for the underserved people in third world countries.