Dr. Stuart Harris is an attending physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine, where he is the Chief of the Division of Wilderness Medicine and the Wilderness Medicine Fellowship Director. Additionally, Dr. Stuart Harris is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Harris is a former instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in the Lower 48 and Alaska, and has developed courses on wilderness medicine for Harvard Medical School students. His drive to increase physician awareness of the interaction between environmental degradation and individual and public health has led to the creation of the first Wilderness Medicine Fellowship at MGH. He has served as medical staff with a National Park Service climbing ranger patrol on Mt. McKinley (Denali National Park), pursued research with the Himalayan Rescue Association in the Khumbu Valley of Nepal (Mt. Everest region), and provided clinical care on Mt. Kilimanjaro on research expeditions. He was among the handful of non-Japanese physicians allowed to respond to the March 11, 2011 tsunami disaster.
Dr. Harris received his A.B. from the University of the South, and his MFA at the University of Iowa’s Writers; Workshop (Fiction). He received his MD from the Medical College of Virginia, and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine in the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency Program (HAEMR) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Harris’ research focuses on investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of high altitude illness and on the interactions of human and global health. Dr. Harris’s research team continues to work closely with the U.S. Army’s Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (Natick, MA and Pikes Peak Summit Lab) on high altitude research funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. In collaboration with the Woods Hole Research Institute, his division is pursuing research in far eastern Siberia examining the interaction between human and environmental health on the Polaris Project. Research with multiple different departments at MGH and at BWH (Neurology, Cardiology, Surgery, Pulmonary and Critical Care, Radiology) is ongoing.
In concert with leading international high altitude physiologists and physicians, he has created the International High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) Registry. This Registry has been adopted as the global standard. He has been named Registry Master, Chair of the Registry Steering Committee, and Executive Committee Member for the International Society for Mountain Medicine. The Registry is a fundamental tool in expanding the range of genetic, epidemiologic, and pharmacologic high altitude studies in the future. Dr. Harris’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Center for the Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, MGH, and Harvard Medical School. In collaboration with others, Dr. Harris continues to actively research pathogenic changes in acute mountain sickness and HAPE. They continue to explore the critical basic pathophysiologic finding in the universal life threat of hypoxia.