Lillie Biggins, president of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, has announced her retirement. According to several sources, Biggins told her staff of her decision in the past few days.
Jan. 5 will be her last day at Texas Health.
Biggins health care career spans 45 years, much of which she spent as a critical care nurse, an area of medicine that she remains passionate about today. She joined Texas Health Resources in 1997 and served as vice president and senior vice president of operations at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth before becoming the hospital’s first female president in 2012.
Biggins has come a long way to reach that position. She got her start in health care sweeping floors. She always wanted to be a nurse and after a few years of cleaning at a hospital, she went to night school and earned her nursing degree. She took the housekeeping job to be close to health care — it was the only position at the hospital that didn’t require experience — and she found what she was looking for: a foot in the door. One of the LVNs, Biggins recalls, would often look her in the eye and encourage her with the words “Don’t stop here.”
Taking that advice to heart, Biggins poured her passion for health care into a 43-year career that spans direct patient care, nursing leadership and executive roles.
“I believe that life is a journey of learning, and that no matter what job you have it is a blessing to be employed,” Biggins said in a 2014 interview. ”I now tell students to be the best you can be no matter the job and learn to be grateful. This doesn’t mean give up on your purpose or dreams, but always be true to the place you are while on the journey. And, by all means, don’t allow your now to impede your destiny.”
Biggins was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in May 2014, joining the ranks of the state’s most accomplished women.
Biggins is known for walking through the halls simply to connect with staff – from those who sweep the floors to skilled clinicians. It’s her background that inspires employees and when she says things like, “I may be the president, but I work for you,” the staff knows she’s speaking from her heart.
But Biggins’ impact is felt far beyond the hospital or the health care community. For example, during her tenure as chairman and member of the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Board, the airport expanded through the construction of Terminal D, which has grown international destinations and brought new air carriers. Just as important, the expansion has brought billions of dollars to the economy and thousands of jobs to the region. Biggins is also co-chair of Fort Worth’s Race & Culture Task Force.
Biggins graduated from John Peter Smith School of Nursing in 1971 alongside her older sister, Alleyne. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University in Denton. She held an appointment of assistant clinical professor in hospital administration at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas for six years and currently serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Before working at Texas Health Fort Worth, Biggins was chief nursing officer at Columbia Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth and vice president of east campus operations at Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth. She holds 21 years of nursing leadership experience between John Peter Smith Hospital and Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. – This story includes information from the FWBP archives.
Her numerous awards and honors from local and national associations include:
• The President’s Volunteer Call to Service Award, the nation’s highest honor for volunteer service, in 2006
• Dallas/Fort Worth’s Great 100 Nurses honoree in 1995
• Board Member of the Year from the American Heart Association
• Nurse of the Year from the Brooks and Gray Sorority
• Fort Worth Business Press Who’s Who: Nurse of the Year
• YWCA’s Tribute to Women in Business honoree
• American Cancer Society’s Partnership Award
• Dunbar Wildcat Club’s Humanitarian Award
• Renaissance Cultural Center’s Living Legend Award in 2004
• Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce’s Eagle Award
• University of Texas at Arlington’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007
• Fort Worth Business Press Woman of Influence Award in 2008
• Dallas Business Journal Minority Leader Award
• Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex Chapter National Women of Achievement Award in 2011
• Health Industry Council’s Top 12 Women in Health Care in North Texas in 2012
• MLCC Women in Power Making a Difference Everywhere in 2012
• SafeHaven of Tarrant County’s Legacy of Women Award in 2012
• Ethel Ransom Cultural Club Inspiration Champion in 2013
• Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce‘s Circle of Excellence Award in 2013
• Distinguished Service Award from the Greater Fort Worth Area Negro Business & Professional Women’s Club in 2014
• Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Susan Halsey Executive Leadership Award in 2016