MD, Harvard Medical School, 1941; MPH, Harvard School of Public Health, 1951; DrPH, Harvard School of Public Health, 1953
Dr. Carl Taylor has dedicated his life to improving the health care of people throughout the world, building on the principle of equity. Dr. Taylor defined the concept of health equity as "…providing health benefits according to measurable need rather than on the basis of political or economic status… concentrating on those with the greatest problems." 2 This clear vision has enabled Dr. Taylor to find new ways of helping developing countries improve the health of their citizens.
Dr. Taylor has made tremendous contributions to the field of international health. He was one of the founders and first director of the Department of International Health at JHSPH in 1961, the first department of its kind at any school of public health. Over the course of 30 years, he worked in India, first as director of Memorial Hospital, a Presbyterian Mission, and then as head of a preventive social medicine department at Christian Medical College in Ludhiana. Dr. Taylor served as UNICEF director for China from 1984 through 1987, and as primary WHO consultant in preparing documents for Alma Ata, a World Conference in 1978 on Primary Health Care for the first time.
Born in India, the son of medical missionaries for the Reformed Presbyterian mission in the Himalayas, Taylor says he inherited his profession. His own training in medicine and later a DrPH, both at Harvard, carried on the tradition of involving his family in this work. His late wife, Mary, professor emeritus in education at Towson University, as well as their children, participated in Taylor’s work, while the family lived in China and India.
Through his extensive field experience and professional expertise, Dr. Taylor is promoting exploration of innovative and sustainable solutions to health care needs in the developing world. Partnerships are needed bringing together officials, communities, and experts in a "flexible and varying balance depending on local circumstances." 3 Telling communities how to solve their problems, without consulting local communities has led to unsustainable development programs in the past. Expertise is needed, but the programs must be adapted to the local situation and owned by the local community. This approach is described in a Johns Hopkins Press book - Just and Lasting Change: When Communities Own Their Futures. 4 Together with his son, Daniel Taylor-Ide, Dr. Taylor has tested this method in communities in India, Nepal, Tibet, and Peru through the international, non-profit organization, Future Generations.
Dr. Taylor continues to teach a course at JHSPH on Primary Health Care with special emphasis on community-based approaches.
Honors and Awards
Multiple including U.S. Presidential Award for Service to Children of the World in Especially Difficult Circumstances, 1993