GALION – Medicine has always been the mindset in the Huggins family.
Beginning with Dr. Tom Huggins back in 1961 and continuing with his son, Dr. Tyler “Ty” Huggins, a longtime obstetrician and gynecologist in town. And soon, the third generation of doctors – Pearson and Evan Huggins, who are carrying on the family tradition.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” said Ty, who has had an OB/GYN practice in town for nearly 30 years. “They decided to do it because they wanted to do it.
We’ve had a lot of long talks about that, and I’m even more excited that they chose their own fields of interest.”
Pearson, 27, just started his residency at Mount Carmel Health System in Grove City, while Evan, 24, is a third-year medical student at Ohio University. Both boys earned undergraduate degrees from Otterbein University – their father’s alma mater – with identical biochemistry and molecular biology majors.
The medical field was calling.
Pearson, who had the opportunity to observe some of his dad’s surgeries over the years, said he knew back in middle school during Career Day that he wanted to be a physician.
“I’m not sure if there was any one moment that I made the decision, but the interest stemmed from my dad and grandfather, so it started fairly early.”
Evan, who was also inspired by his father’s impact on the community while growing up, said he definitely knew his career path as a teenager. “Honestly, I’d say once I entered high school, I knew I wanted to do something with my hands and in the medical field. It’s my passion for medicine and science in one big package.”
The 2019 Otterbein graduate, who jokingly calls himself “a hopeful physician,” started rotations in July at Ohio Health and Mount Carmel Health System. “It’s going pretty well,” Evan said. “COVID, the past year made it all remote and online, and medical school is challenging as it is, so you really have to focus and stay on track.”
Pearson, a 2016 Otterbein grad, graduated from OU’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in May. His residency started out in the Intensive Care Unit. “It’s very humbling to know that I have some impact on making a difference even though it’s under the guidance of other physicians at this point in my career.”
The two, unfortunately, never got to know their grandfather. Dr. Tom Huggins, a family doctor at Galion Community Hospital, died May 18, 1990, at the age of 56 after a short battle with cancer. His death occurred during Ty’s second year of residency at Indiana University School of Medicine and just months before his marriage to Caryl on Aug. 25 that year.
Ty, who graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1988, was actually poised to become an anesthesiologist until his last rotation, which was in Ob and Women’s Healthcare. “And I said this is the field for me. It wasn’t even on my radar at all until I started delivering babies and seeing surgeries.”
After finishing the program in 1992, he and Caryl moved back to Galion, where he opened his first practice across the street from the hospital on Portland Way South. Four years later, he built the new Women’s Health Center on Ohio 598 and practiced independently until, in 2015, he joined the staff at Avita Health System.
Ty, who was honored by Avita last year as the Esteemed Physician of the Year, estimates he has delivered more than 9,000 babies in his career. A career devoted to his family and to the healthcare of women. “I give a lot of kudos to my wife for making the house run. She’s the glue that kept the household together.”
Ty’s mother, Marian Huggins, still lives in Galion. He and Caryl also have a daughter, Lauren, who graduated this spring from her mother’s alma mater – Miami University of Ohio. She is heading to Chicago, where she has accepted a position with Ernst & Young.
Eventually, Pearson said, he hopes to land a fellowship in either cardiology or gastroenterology, then set up a practice in North Central Ohio, preferably in a rural setting. He said support from his family and trust in God has been crucial in his journey so far.
“It’s just been fun to observe my dad and see how his career has progressed, and on the flipside to see my brother and watch each person take the next step in their career,” he said.
“When you reflect on it, it’s been a long time coming. I’m really thankful for the Lord putting me in the position I am today.”
Evan, who’s on track to graduate from medical school in 2023, said he’s considering cardiology or general surgery but hasn’t ruled out OB/GYN either. Although he loves the greater Columbus area, his dream is to return to his roots, too – and to the community, he calls home.
“I think for me, I’d be able to do more for my patients in North Central Ohio, the people I know best.
That’s ultimately where I want to end up. That’s where I’m meant to be.”
Just like his father … And his father before him …