Professor Jenny Higham joined St George’s as Principal in November 2015 and is responsible for directing all activities and developments at the university. Professor Higham led the creation of the St George’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022, which identifies the values and strengths that make St George’s a distinctive community and sets out how we will sustain our excellence and impact in education and research.
She was the first female Chair of the Medical Schools Council, the representative body for UK medical schools. She has been actively involved in academic policy and delivery for a number of years, both in the UK and internationally. Alongside her role as Principal, Professor Higham continues clinical practice as a consultant gynaecologist which influenced her research interests in reproductive medicine and medical education innovation.
Professor Higham has held a number of leadership roles in academia, is a consultant gynaecologist and has research interests in reproductive medicine and medical education. She is also the first female Chair of the Medical School Council, the representative body for UK medical schools, where she has been actively involved in academic medical policy for a number of years. In May 2018 Professor Higham was awarded fellowship (FRCP) of the Royal College of Physicians for distinguishing herself in the practice of medicine. Professor Higham was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
Born in Warrington, Lancashire, Professor Higham also spent time during her childhood in Gloucestershire and Norfolk.
She went to Thorpe Grammar School in Norwich. She was the first generation in her family to attend university, graduating as a doctor from University College London with distinction in 1985. She received the Atchison Scholarship, an annual award presented to the student who has demonstrated the best work and greatest proficiency of their medical cohort.
Professor Higham worked towards a research higher degree, investigating the clinical association and treatment of menorrhagia (heavy periods), awarded by the University of London in 1992. She has remained research active from this time.
She quickly specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology, obtaining Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG) in 1992 and subsequently became a Fellow (FRCOG) in 2005. She has maintained clinical roles throughout her career and continues to practice as a consultant gynaecologist.
Prior to her appointment at St George's, Professor Higham worked at Imperial College London's Faculty of Medicine for 19 years, where she held a number of senior positions including Vice Dean for Institutional Affairs and Director of Education (2009-2015) and Head of Undergraduate Medicine (2006-2009). She was instrumental in establishing the Lee Kong Chian (LKC) School of Medicine in Singapore, a joint Medical School by Imperial College London and Nanyang Technological University, and served as the new medical school's Senior Vice Dean from 2013 to 2015. She remains a visiting professor at LKC and oversees the distribution of the “Jenny Higham Award”.
She has received a number of awards in the past five years for outstanding leadership, teaching excellence and the national Women of the Future Mentor of the Year in 2011. She continues to mentor and lecture nationally and internationally on Leadership.
Earlier in her career, she held the post of Senior Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St Mary's (now Imperial College Healthcare Trust). Here, she made significant contributions to the amalgamation of the curricula from St Mary's, Charing Cross and Westminster medical schools on their merger to form the new medical school at Imperial College London.
Professional board roles
Professor Higham was previously an active member of the Medical Schools Council (MSC), serving as its first female Chair (August 2016- July 2019). She chaired the Council's Education sub-committee from 2015 to 2016 and held the position of Treasurer from 2013 to 2016. She remains a Board Member of the MSC Assessment Board.
She was a member of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) Clinical Academic Staff Advisory Group from 2013-2015 and has a range of other board experience, including the Higher Education North West London Board (2012-2015) and West Middlesex University Trust (2009-2015).
She currently is a Governor of Kingston University and is on the Boards of St Georges University Hospital Foundation Trust, the South London Health Innovation Network and the General Medical Council's Education and Training Advisory Board. More recently Professor Higham has taken on the roles of Member of the board of Universities UK (UUK) (August 2019), Member of the board of the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) (June 2019 - June 2023) and Board member University of London Institute of Paris, which commenced in 2018.
In July 2021 it was confirmed that Professor Higham will sit on the London Higher Board of Trustees as a co-opted member, and in January 2022 it was confirmed that she will sit as a member of the R&D People and Culture Ministerial Coordination Group (MCG).