Physician Photo

Norman Stuart (N.) Harris, Jr., MD

Chief, Division of Wilderness Medicine

N. Stuart Harris M.D. is an attending physician at the MGH Department of Emergency Medicine. He is Chief of the Division of Wilderness Medicine and the Wilderness Medicine Fellowship Director. He is also an Assistant Professor of Surgery at HMS.

  • Phone: 617-726-5821
Department of Emergency Medicine
Clinical Interests
Wilderness Medicine and Environmental Emergencies
High altitude physiology
International high altitude pulmonary edema registry
Environmental health
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
MD, Medical College of Virginia
Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Patient Age Group
Adult and pediatric
Accepting New Patients
Accepting New Patients


Dr. N. Stuart Harris is an attending physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine. He received his MFA at the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop (Fiction).  He received his MD from the Medical College of Virginia. He 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 is additionally an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Harris serves as the Chief of the Division of Wilderness Medicine at MGH. He is a former instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in the Lower 48 and Alaska.  He 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. Dr. Harris is also both faculty and course director  for NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute.  He has served as medical staff with a National Park Service climbing ranger patrol on Mt. McKinley (Denali National Park) and pursued research with the Himalayan Rescue Association in the Khumbu Valley of Nepal (Mt. Everest region).


Dr. Harris' research focuses on investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of high altitude illness and on the interactions of human and global health. 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.

Additionally, Dr. Harris' research team has been fortunate enough to work closely with the U.S. Army's Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (Natick, MA and Pikes Peak Summit Lab) over the last decade.  Research with multiple different departments at MGH and at BWH are ongoing.  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.

Dr. Harris' 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 are getting ever closer to describing the long-suspected, but as of yet, undocumented, basic pathophysiologic finding in a universal life threat: hypoxia.


Harris NS, Wenzel RP, Thomas SH. High Altitude Headache: Efficacy of Acetaminophen vs. Ibuprofen in a Randomized, Controlled Trial. Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2003;24(4):383-387.

Harris, N. Stuart. Case 24-2006: A 40-year-Old Woman with Hypotension after an Overdose of Amlodipine. Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. New England Journal of Medicine. 2006;355(6):302-11.

Peter J. Fagenholz, MD; Jonathan A. Gutman, MD; Alice F. Murray, MBChB; Vicki E. Noble, MD; Stephen H. Thomas, MD, MPH; N. Stuart Harris, MD, MFA. Chest Ultrasonography for the Diagnosis and Monitoring of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. Chest. 2007;131(4):1013-1018.

Peter J. Fagenholz; Jonathan A. Gutman; Alice F. Murray; Vicki E. Noble; Carlos A. Camargo Jr.; and N. Stuart Harris. Optic nerve sheath diameter correlates with the presence and severity of acute mountain sickness: evidence for increased intracranial pressure. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Apr 1;Sect. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

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Emergency Medicine
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696

Phone: 617-726-5821
Fax: 617-724-0917