Jonas IV Veterans Healthcare Scholar Alumni

Tracy Higgins, PhD, RN

Columbia University

Dr. Tracy Higgins completed her PhD in Nursing at Columbia University School of Nursing and is a retired Air Force Officer. She completed her BSN at Florida State University and her MA at Indiana University in Bloomington. A life-long interest in social issues and their articulation with local and global politics has informed both her work in US foreign relations, and her post-graduate studies in global health. Her current research centers on the development of the concept of patient engagement, with potential applications for patient-practitioner communication, development of cultural competency, and use of information technology as tools in support of engagement. During her military career, Dr. Higgins served as special investigative liaison (AFOSI) for many years in Paris, France; senior Defense Department representative (DIA) in Bujumbura; and in many locations in the US and overseas including Italy, Korea, Rwanda, Israel, India, and Egypt. Her experiences prompted her to appreciate the importance of health issues in strategic policy and the pivotal roles professional nurses may play in planning and execution of policy at all levels. She is multi-lingual and most recently studied the West African language of Wolof to explore the Senegalese immigrant community experience with healthcare in New York City. Dr. Higgins is also a contributing scholar and associate producer in France for a television documentary on Teilhard de Chardin, and a volunteer broadcaster in Public Radio to support community engagement in emerging public health issues. Upon graduation she plans to teach interdisciplinary topics in nursing and work as an advocate for veterans health issues.