Dr. Barbara Huggins, a long-time pediatrician at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, was named professor emeritus Friday.
The title of professor emeritus is awarded to an individual who has retired from his or her faculty position but retains the honorary title. Approved by the UT System Board of Regents, it’s the highest recognition a professor can receive.
Dr. Huggins received praise from her colleagues and former students during a small reception at the center.
Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun, UT Health Science Center president, noted that she is well-respected, not only among employees at the health center but all of East Texas.
“Dr. Huggins is the epitome of compassion and empathy,” Calhoun said. “She was always first and foremost a passionate advocate for children and was “Dr. Mom” to them all. … She was extraordinarily professional at all times and always supported the good of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.”
Dr. Jonathan MacClements, chairman of the health science center’s Department of Family Medicine, was a student under Dr. Huggins. He was pleased to honor her at the reception. MacClements said she “quietly” taught the next generation of physicians to ensure the center had quality physicians.
“She’s a phenomenal mentor to a number of generations,” he said. “She’s the perfect role model of what a physician should be.”
Dr. Huggins, who was “unmistakably drawn to East Texas,” commended the health science center for its dedication to medical education.
“This place has become quite a beacon of how education could be,” she said. “I feel like somewhere along the way I’ve left a mark at the health science center and also with those physicians who are leading the way.”
In 1995, she collaborated with health professionals from local hospitals to develop the first Pediatric Advanced Life Support program in Northeast Texas. From 2001 to 2010, she was medical director of the “Reach Out and Read” program at the health science center. The program promotes reading by providing new books to children and making parents aware of the importance of reading out loud to their children.
Dr. Huggins was “Dr. Mom” from 2003 to 2007, serving as the writer, reporter and managing editor of a weekly TV medical news report produced by the hospital’s media services, which aired on KLTV.
Dr. Huggins also worked with CBS19 from 2008 to 2010, educating viewers about important children’s health issues in the program “Dose of Health.”
Dr. Huggins earned her medical degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where she also completed her residency in pediatrics.