Photo of Norman (N.) Stuart Harris, MD

Norman (N.) Stuart Harris, MD

  • Chief, Division of Wilderness Medicine


Accepting New Patients


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.


Emergency Medicine

Clinical Interests
  • Wilderness Medicine and Environmental Emergencies
  • High altitude physiology
  • International high altitude pulmonary edema registry
  • Environmental health
Medical Education
  • MD, Medical College of Virginia
  • Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Insurances Accepted
  • Aetna Health Inc.
  • Beech Street
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Blue Care 65
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Indemnity
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Managed Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Partners Plus
  • Centene/Celticare
  • Cigna (PAL #'s)
  • Fallon Community HealthCare
  • Great-West Healthcare (formally One Health Plan)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - ACD
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - PBO
  • Health Care Value Management (HCVM)
  • Humana/Choice Care PPO
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Medicare - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - PBO
  • OSW - Connecticut
  • OSW - Maine
  • OSW - New Hampshire
  • OSW - Rhode Island
  • OSW - Vermont
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Senior Whole Health
  • TriCare
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Unicare
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - ACD
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - PBO
Patient Age Group
Adult and Pediatric

Edit Profile


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).

Edit Profile

Research & Publications

Research Summary

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.

Edit Profile

News & Events

  • In General: 07.22.11

    In General awards and honors

  • In general 11.05.10

    MGH Hotline 11.05.10 In general awards and honors

  • Winter weather safety

    As the temperature drops and snowflakes fall, the risk for certain winter-related injuries increases. N. Stuart Harris, MD, MFA, director of the Wilderness Medicine Fellowship at the MGH and an instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School, offers advice on some of the most common winter weather perils.

  • Summer safety tips from an MGH wilderness medicine expert

    MGH Hotline 08.21.09 Following a particularly rainy June and July, many are now taking the opportunity to enjoy the late summer season by spending more time outdoors.


  • HAZMAT Team Training Slideshow

    View a slideshow with scenes from an early morning exercise that the MGH HAZMAT team members participated in.

  • Celebrating 200 Years: 1811 - 2011

    Since 1811, people have counted on Mass General for answers, innovations and medical leadership. As our third century dawns, we remain ready to serve.

  • Frank Robinson's Story

    Watch 46-year-old Frank Robinson tell the story of his life-saving experience at Mass General after a massive coronary.


Emergency Medicine
55 Fruit Street
Boston MA, 02114-2696
Phone: 617-726-5821
Fax: 617-724-0917

Edit Profile

Back to Top