Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, is a national expert on health care and philanthropy, having previously served as the president and CEO of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. Higgins leads Healthier Generation’s team of nearly 100 professional staff across the nation working to make the healthy choice the easy choice for all children, including:
• Supporting tens of thousands of schools and youth-serving organizations in creating healthier learning environments in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
• Working with companies to improve their individual and industry-wide business practices to improve children’s health
• Driving strategic collaboration with the business sector at the national and local levels to shape supply, build demand and improve access to healthier foods and beverages
• Leveraging a robust online platform and expansion in digital technologies to improve program experience and deliver powerful marketing programs and campaigns that raise awareness and drive action toward healthier futures for all children
Prior to taking on the role of Healthier Generation CEO in January 2019, Higgins spent more than 30 years at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, where her roles span leading public health engagement, corporate communications, community relations, and corporate affairs. In 2000, Higgins led the launch of the Blue Cross NC Foundation.
As president and CEO of the Blue Cross NC Foundation, Higgins led unprecedented growth, including the strategic investment of more than $150 million into North Carolina communities through more than 1,000 grants to improve the health of vulnerable populations, support physical activity and nutrition programs, and help nonprofit groups improve their organizational capacity. Higgins was also a significant advocate in Blue Cross NC’s early adoption of Healthier Generation’s decade-long innovative insurance benefit program, designed to encourage clinicians to extend weight management and obesity prevention services to kids and families.
In addition to her extensive business background, Higgins has engaged in significant community leadership throughout her career and has served on numerous state and national boards, including co-leading the NC Institute of Medicine Taskforce on Childhood Obesity Prevention; being appointed by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to serve on the Governor’s Council for Early Childhood Development; and earning recognition from Diversity Journal as a “Women Worth Watching” award winner. She also serves on the boards of the Carolina Hurricanes Foundation (chair), the Triangle Area YMCA and the Underwood Foundation.
Among her many honors and distinctions, she has been named both an Eisenhower Fellow and Fulbright Senior Scholar, for which she was selected to study health care and philanthropy in New Zealand and Australia.
Higgins holds a bachelor’s degree in education from West Virginia Wesleyan College and completed her master’s work in community health education from Virginia Tech. She currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina and is the mother to twin boys. Kathy can be found on Twitter at @KathyHigginsHG