The firm - which already has a London office in Bermondsey - has recruited Nightingale Associates' business development director Alistair Corry to become principal of a new healthcare team.
The move represents a concerted effort to build up hospital design credentials to match the practice's position on the other side of the pond.
NBBJ bosses claim that Corry's experience, which also includes working for Architects for Health, will help take market share from the small number of practices that win major UK healthcare schemes such as Nightingales itself and Anshen Dyer.
Bruce Nepp, NBBJ principal for science and education, said: 'We are delighted that Alistair has joined NBBJ, bringing his tremendous knowledge of the healthcare market.
'He has invaluable experience in building and managing successful teams for winning and delivering major projects in the sector.
'His appointment is a measure of NBBJ's commitment to growing the firm's healthcare practice in Europe, and of our goal to attract and assemble the best talent in the field,' Nepp added.