Lives of the fellows

Ian Thomas Twistington Higgins

b.12 March 1919 d.26 March 2006
MB BS Lond(1946) MD(1952) FRCP(1972)

Ian Thomas Twistington Higgins was professor of epidemiology and environmental and industrial health at the school of public health, University of Michigan. He had a distinguished career in research, teaching and public service, and was an internationally renowned expert in the epidemiology of chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, coronary heart disease, and other diseases resulting from occupational and environmental exposures to hazardous materials, including cigarette smoke and air pollution.

He was born in Edinburgh, and educated at Gresham’s School and the London Hospital. He held junior appointments in medicine and paediatrics, and then, in 1953, joined the scientific staff of the Medical Research Council’s pneumoconiosis research unit in Wales.

In 1963 he was appointed professor of chronic disease epidemiology at the graduate school of public health at the University of Pittsburgh. Four years later he joined the faculty of the school of public health at the University of Michigan. Colleagues recall his prodigious research publications, the wealth of material and depth of experience he brought to his teaching and the humour with which he ‘salted’ his lectures.

He was elected to the fellowship of the College, of the American Epidemiology Society, the American College of Epidemiology and the epidemiology council of the American Heart Association. He served on many committees of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.

Following his retirement from the University of Michigan in 1985, Higgins served as director of epidemiology at the American Health Foundation, New York, and engaged in private consulting practice from his home in Bethesda, Maryland.

He loved to read and recite poems. He was an accomplished pianist with a lovely light touch and he delighted in listening to music. His family was a great source of joy to him. He is survived by his wife, Millicent, professor emeritus of epidemiology and internal medicine, sons John and Paul, and his granddaughter.

Millicent Higgins

[Ann Arbor News 4 February 2006; University Record, University of Michighan 10 April 2006]

(Volume XII, page web)

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