Independent Women’s Forum: Modern Feminist: Jenn Higgins

Published: March 24, 2016

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By Charlotte Hays

As a freshman at Davidson College student, Jennifer Higgins quietly planted herself in the operating room of the Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, where a prominent orthopedic surgeon was operating on a series of patients throughout the day. Higgins was holding a stopwatch. She had a job to do: clock the doc.

“I was monitoring how quickly the surgeon could turn around  a surgery,” Higgins, now a Washington, D.C., healthcare lobbyist and political activist, recalls. “I clocked every procedure. Turning around a surgery quickly can be a good thing or a bad thing.”

Although her family had Midwestern roots, Higgins was born and grew up in the tiny town of Hillsborough, North Carolina, to which her single mother relocated to be near her family. Higgins worked in hospitals throughout her high school career. At sixteen, she presented a slide show on how to improve techniques to hospital administrators.  The man who flipped slides for her later helped her get a job. She was planning to be a doctor.

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