Meet Dr. Higgins

Kristin Higgins, MD, joined City of Hope® Cancer Center Atlanta in January 2024 as Chief Clinical Officer, leading the hospital’s efforts supporting advanced cancer care access and innovation, while also partnering with department chairs to lead physician recruitment and clinical growth. In her dual appointment as a Professor of Radiation Oncology for City of Hope Atlanta, she continues the clinical practice of radiation oncology, specializing in the treatment of lung cancer.

With her nearly 15 years of clinical and research experience as a Professor of Radiation Oncology at Emory University, Dr. Higgins brings to City of Hope an extensive background in the design and implementation of clinical trials. She’s especially focused on identifying radiation treatment strategies for non-small cell and small cell lung cancer, particularly developing clinical trials designed to study the effects of combined radiation therapy with novel drug therapies.

Dr. Higgins developed a strong relationship with City of Hope clinical leaders in Duarte, California, through her research in lung cancer and had long admired the patient-focused care and access the hospital system is known for. So, when City of Hope expanded into Georgia, she saw a wonderful opportunity for partnership with a focus on building out a robust research-centered clinical practice while also improving access to leading-edge treatment options for patients in the region.

Collaborating on a team of cancer experts committed to expanding access to quality cancer care remains a driving force behind Dr. Higgins’ research interest in innovative combination radiotherapy treatments.

“I want patients to feel that they are navigating their diagnoses with the latest technology, treatments and therapies available,” said Dr. Higgins. “It’s also very important that patients feel their treatment plans align with their personal values throughout their journey.”

Dr. Higgins was inspired to pursue a career in health care by her mother, who continues to practice as a registered nurse. Oncology soon came into focus for her while applying to medical school, when her grandfather was diagnosed with terminal small cell lung cancer. While she was heartbroken to lose a beloved family member, the experience galvanized her desire to pursue a career focused on leading-edge cancer treatment and patient-centered, compassionate care. The opportunity to apply these clinical paradigms to a technologically driven field like radiation oncology was a perfect fit.

After earning her medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. Higgins completed an internal medicine internship at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, followed by a residency in radiation oncology at Duke, where she was named Chief Resident. She then moved to Atlanta to begin her career at Emory, where she developed an international reputation as an expert in the field of lung cancer. She’s the principal investigator of NRG/Alliance LU005, an international, phase 3 clinical trial studying the addition of immunotherapy to standard chemoradiation, she’s authored over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and several book chapters, and she co-chaired the 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer.

Active in the lung cancer advocacy community, Dr. Higgins is a member of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable Survivorship Task Group and serves on a number of association committees, including the NRG Oncology Lung Cancer Core Committee and the American Board of Radiology Oral Board Examination Committee for Lung Cancer.

Noted for a career focused around clinical trials, she also serves on the Board of Directors for NRG Oncology and the RTOG Foundation and has received numerous awards for her work as a researcher and clinician, namely the ASCO Bradley Stuart Beller Foundation Merit Award, the Radiological Society of America’s Roentgen Resident/Fellow Research Award and Emory’s Clinic Gold Provider (given to the top 10 percent in the specialty nationwide for patient satisfaction over two quarters), its “Hidden Gem” Faculty Award and, most recently, the Emory Department of Radiation Oncology Mentoring Award.

Outside of City of Hope, Dr. Higgins enjoys running, reading, yoga and spending time with her husband and their two sons. The family dog, Lucy, is never far from her lap.

City of Hope Atlanta
600 Celebrate Life Parkway
Newnan, GA 30265

Radiation Oncology

Medical school:
Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA
Residency: Radiation Oncology - Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC

Radiation Oncology - American Board of Radiology

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