In Memory > Jim Wiggins Tribute

Jim Wiggins Tribute

posted on 10:00 AM, October 16, 2015

Jim Wiggins 1953-2015

ACMT Education Coordinator

Jim Wiggins died on October 14, 2015 after a brief illness. He leaves behind his sister Juanita and his mother Shirley, both of Mobile AL.

Jim grew up in Alabama receiving his BA in Anthropology from the University of Alabama, and a MA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. He subsequently obtained a MPH in Global Public Health from the University of Arizona. After a four-year business sojourn in Russia during the early post-Soviet 1990s, Jim moved to Washington, DC where for five years he worked at the Global Health Council in the Policy, Advocacy and Research Division as Director of Forums and Special Events. He traveled extensively while doing advance work in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean region as logistics manager for Congressional Study Tours sponsored by the Global Health Council. Subsequently, he returned to the northern Sonoran Desert region of Arizona and settled in Tucson.

Jim joined ACMT in December 2009 as ACMT’s first full-time Educational Coordinator and singlehandedly managed the growing number of ACMT educational activities, which included the ACMT Annual Scientific Meeting in 2010 -2015, the Board Review Course in 2010 -2014, and the Forensic Courses in 2010 (twice), 2011 and 2013. Jim was also responsible for supporting a numerous other courses and webinars including the Chemical Agents of Opportunity and the Illicit Production of Methamphetamine courses. He spearheaded the website content development related to live conferences, including the online syllabi, and managed CME administration to maintain compliance with ACCME guidelines. Jim worked with dozens of ACMT members and ACMT leaders on a regular basis supporting their efforts in teaching medical toxicology on a national stage.

Most of you will remember Jim as the man behind the curtain at every ACMT-related conference you attended. He could be seen working the computer, carrying boxes, talking to the hotel administration, or helping you find your way between committee meetings. He was at the conference when you arrived in the morning, and was there when you left after the last session.

According to Jim’s profile on Linked-in his most memorable project was providing “advance planning on trips for US Congressional staff study tours to Cambodia, Haiti, India and South Africa and having the opportunity to meet health professionals providing care on the front lines of poverty.” He stated that his most enjoyable project was “Conceptualizing and successfully producing a fundraising event with 88 Miss Universe contestants on behalf of an AIDS service organization in Thailand.” Jim mastered web-based educational delivery and was instrumental in moving ACMT education from a paper-based educational delivery to web-based presentations.

Over the past year as the ACMT staff grew substantially, Jim’s guiding presence provided much seasoned leadership to our growing organization. He led by example, working tirelessly for ACMT and its members, often working 60- and 70-hour weeks to prepare for ACMT conferences. He was always a pleasure to work with and we admired him for his compassion and commitment. We are all in shock at Jim’s sudden and very premature death. He will be greatly missed.


Jim Wiggins
by The Exware Team, posted on 12:22 PM, October 16, 2015
We've worked with Jim for many years and will miss him greatly. He was always a pleasure to talk to and work with.

Our deepest sympathies go out to Jim's family, friends and colleagues at ACMT.
by Louise Kao, posted on 2:02 PM, October 16, 2015
I am still reeling from this news. Jim was such a kind and caring man and he has been such a wonderful colleague through the years I have been involved with Education at ACMT. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
    by Tricia Steffey, posted on 2:44 PM, October 16, 2015
    I had the privilege of working with Jim for six years and during this time he became more than a co-worker, he was a dear friend. Jim had many talents and I’m grateful to have known his wisdom, thoughtfulness and generosity. I greatly admired his creativity and wittiness - I will treasure my memories of our conversations. The world has lost a wonderful man and I will miss him deeply.
    Jim Wiggins
    by Tom Kurt, MD, MPH, posted on 3:37 PM, October 16, 2015
    Jim was extremely helpful and informed when you were doing presentations. And, just interacting at other times, he was very conscientious and a delight to speak with on other matters. I appreciated and respected Jim's help.
    (Tom Kurt, MD, MPH)
    by Lewis Nelson, posted on 4:05 PM, October 16, 2015
    I think the best word to describe Jim is unassuming. He was always ready to help, no matter the task, and he expected no limelight in return. In fact, he was routinely embarrassed to be publicly appreciated at our conferences. He gave his all to elevate ACMT's educational offerings and his imprint can be seen on every one of them. He was a fountain of wisdom, and I learned regularly from his keen insights. Jim just loved his work and his work loved him.

    I will miss Jim tremendously. Future ACMT conferences will never be quite the same.
    by Paul Wax, posted on 4:07 PM, October 16, 2015
    I hired Jim to work for ACMT in December 2009 to serve as ACMT's first Educational Coordinator. He had an interesting and eclectic background and he was clearly our top choice. Since that time I have worked with Jim almost every day.

    At first it was just Tricia, Jim, and myself at ACMT Central. Over the last few years he played a major role in ACMT's growth and development. He was a tireless worker, putting in many many nights and weekends. Every time I mentioned to Jim that ACMT was thinking about developing one new thing, he paused, and wondered if we still had our sanity, and then went right to work, always excelling at what he did. He loved developing new skills whether it was as a graphic design artist for our conference webpages or as a contract specialist with our meeting hotels and other vendors. For each conference he was truly a one-man operation, multitasking on all the critical elements necessary for superior conference management. Just last Thursday, participating at the ACMT staff retreat (with a staff that had grown from 3 to 13 in just a few short years), Jim played a major role in leading our strategic discussions and offering seasoned advise to all the new ACMT employees. I know Jim worked with countless ACMT members as well, always smiling, offering the highest service to the members, outside faculty, and the College.

    I can't believe Jim is gone. It is a huge huge loss. Rest in peace my friend Jim.
    Jim Wiggins at the 2014 NACCT ASM Meeting with ACMT staff Eric Smith, Lynn Lancaster, Tricia Steffey, and Paul Wax
    Jim Wiggins at the 2015 ASM Meeting with ACMT Staff Tricia Steffey, Dana Turner, and Tara Frutkin
      by Kavita Babu, MD, posted on 4:08 PM, October 16, 2015
      I am so saddened by this news. I will miss Jim's insightful and warm sense of humor. My condolences to his family, and the staff of ACMT. - Kavita Babu
      Jim - I will miss him
      by Jeffrey Brent, posted on 5:35 PM, October 16, 2015
      I have known Jim from almost the instant he started working for ACMT. He was a model of positive energy. Every interaction I had with him over the years was pleasurable. I think we all assumed Jim would be there forever.

      Jim went out of his way to look out for ACMT members. He would call me when he noticed I hadn't made hotel reservations for conferences and sometimes go out of his way to pull a few strings when rooms were tight.

      He made ACMT conferences flow seamlessly. The world has lost a very high quality person.
      by Mark Mycyk, posted on 6:10 AM, October 17, 2015
      Jim always had a gentle spirit and a "can do" approach to everything - he was an amazing problem solver and a reliable, steady presence in the ACMT family. We will miss Jim. Heartfelt condolences to his family.
      Jim Wiggins
      by Rob Sharma, posted on 8:52 AM, October 17, 2015
      I am saddened by the news of Jim's passing. It was a pleasure to work with him and we benefited from his insight for many years. He will be deeply missed. My condolences to his family.
      A true gentleman
      by Leslie Dye, posted on 8:39 AM, October 18, 2015
      It is very hard to believe that I won't have the opportunity to talk to or work with Jim again. What a kind, gentle soul we have lost. I will miss so many things about him. I loved the way he could express his opinion forcefully, yet gently. Paul, Tricia and Jim were a powerhouse for ACMT. The educational programs really took off when we finally had a leader that knew the industry. Jim ran all of the meetings and events so smoothly. But his kind heart always was apparent and he had a great sense of humor. This is a tremendous loss for the ACMT family. My thoughts and prayers are with Jim's family.
      Jim Wiggins
      by Chuck McKay, posted on 11:44 AM, October 18, 2015
      As many others have said, Jim was the motor behind activities at the growing number of ACMT conferences these last 6 years. Whatever the issue, his knowing half-smile would indicate both the challenge and his certain ability to overcome it. I am sure that his past experiences with problem solving world-wide provided a great foundation for what we often took for granted at ACMT. I will miss his calm certitude and steady hand in directing so many of our behind-the-scenes activities; more so, I miss Jim. I trust his many friends and family will remember him fondly - eternal peace to you, Jim.
      Missing Jim
      by Tara Frutkin, posted on 1:07 PM, October 18, 2015
      We just had an ACMT staff meeting where we played a get to know you game. One of the questions was what do you like most about working at ACMT. My answer was "the people" and Jim was top of that list. He was such a kind man and kept us laughing. He was a coworker, a mentor and most of all a friend. I wish I could have told him all of this in person.

      It's hard to believe that he is gone and I keep having moments where I think, "Ooh, let me just call Jim. He'll be able to help me." ACMT will not be the same without Jim and he has left big shoes to fill. I miss you friend.
      Gentle Kindness
      by Erica Liebelt, posted on 2:29 PM, October 18, 2015
      I helped to hire Jim as our second independent ACMT staff member. Jim demonstrated gentle kindness - always kind to everyone he interacted with and gentle in his manners. I communicated with Jim just a couple of weeks before his passing and his jovial and kind email was nothing out of the ordinary for him. My prayers are with Jim, his mother, and his sister.
      by Michelle Ruha, posted on 7:52 AM, October 19, 2015
      Jim has been a constant, calm presence at ACMT from the moment he joined. As a professional, Jim was so reliable, competent, and hard-working. Yet I will miss him most because of the wonderful person he was. Jim was kind, soft-spoken, and patient. I looked forward to seeing him at meetings. Amid relative chaos Jim always remained unruffled and often had a twinkle in his eye that made you feel like you were in on a joke. He was someone who you just instantly liked. He will be greatly, greatly missed.
      by Carrie, posted on 10:19 AM, October 19, 2015
      I only got to know Jim very briefly in the last few months at ACMT and never got the pleasure to meet him in person. Jim was so gracious with me as I tried to understand all of the nuances of the CDC's Continuing Education process. He also knew so much about ACMT's educational activities and the organization as a whole. Even though I only knew him very briefly, he will be sadly missed. My deepest sympathies to his family, close friends, and the rest of my colleagues at ACMT.
      Thoughts & prayers
      by Naren Gunja, posted on 4:39 AM, October 20, 2015
      I am deeply saddened to hear of Jim's sudden passing. My thoughts are with his family and those who worked so closely with him. Jim was a tremendous force within the ACMT and will be much missed.
      Tragic news
      by Kim Wilson, Atanto Ltd, posted on 10:33 AM, October 20, 2015
      I knew Jim from our work together on the ACMT conference app and found him to be a lively, enthusiastic soul who was a pleasure to talk to. I was looking forward to a chat this week about the forthcoming app, and this is such a sudden and sad shock.
        Re: Tragic news
        by Juanetta Baker Jim's sister, posted on 8:49 PM, October 20, 2015
        My brother was a very special man. Jim was the rock in our lives. Jim was always there for our mother & myself. We got to talk to him that night before everything went wrong, for that we are grateful. Jim will be missed so, so very much. To everyone, thank you for your kind words, thoughts & prayers. We will get through all this one day at a time. God Bless you.
      by Amanda Allen, posted on 6:48 AM, October 22, 2015
      Jim was someone who I highly respected. I think we shared a similar sense of humor and a propensity for openly sharing our opinions. Although I had only worked with Jim since June of this year, he imparted a great deal of wisdom to me regarding working with subject matter experts within the ACMT network and provided historical knowledge of the "trials and tribulations" of CE and ACMT educational efforts. I just really can't say enough about Jim and the person that I knew him to be.

      Although I am tremendously saddened by Jim's passing, I thank God for these reminders to not take life and relationships with others for granted and to live every day to its fullest. While I was in Ireland, I purchased a "Worry Stone." I think Jim would appreciate and agree with its inscription:

      "There are only two things to worry about: either you are well or you are sick. If you are well, then there is nothing to worry about: but if you are sick; there are two things for you to worry about: either you get well or you will die. If you get well, then there is nothing to worry about. If you die: then there are two things to worry about: either you go up or down. If you go up, then there is nothing to worry about. But if you go down you will be so busy shaking hands with old friends you won’t have time to worry."
      by Josh Schier, posted on 6:58 AM, October 25, 2015
      I was shocked to hear of Jim's passing - he had been such a familiar face at all of ACMT's meetings and one that was always willing to help you with whatever you needed. Just a few weeks ago he contacted me to help me arrange rooms with the federal rate for the 2016 ACMT Symposium. He was one of the kindest and most professional persons I have known. I will miss him and all he brought to ACMT.
        Re: Jim
        by Tim Wiegand, posted on 6:24 PM, October 26, 2015
        I was very saddened at Jim's passing. I was fortunate to work closely with Jim in helping organize several of the preconference symposiums in recent years. Jim's involvement helped these and many other ACMT events succeed. He also ever professional and welcoming to all of our guests as well as the ACMT members and faculty. I shared the news of his untimely passing with several of my addiction medicine colleagues, those that had joined us in Clearwater for the Addiction Academy this past year, and they all had very touching and kind comments regarding his attention and welcome.
        -Tim Wiegand
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