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International Health

In Memoriam
Professor Carl Taylor, 1916-2010
Founding Chair, Department of International Health

Carl E. Taylor, MD, DrPH, founding chair of the Department of International Health, died on February 4, 2010. He was 93. We thought the best way to honor Professor Taylor was to provide a forum for those who knew him both professionally and personally to share their memories of him. Below are excerpts from tributes to Professor Taylor that are posted on the Department’s website. We will continue to add to these as we receive them. In addition, the Bloomberg School is currently organizing a symposium to honor his many contributions to global public health.

Taylor was also senior advisor to Future Generations and Future Generations Graduate School where a professorship? is endowed in his name. For more information, At the Bloomberg School, the Carl & Mary Taylor Fund was established in 1995 with contributions from faculty and alumni in honor of the Taylors’ commitment to the students of the School of Public Health and to improving international health through research and action.The fund provides support to students working in the area of international bioethics.

Prof Taylor in PeruHenry Perry, MD, PhD, MPH, Sr. Associate, International Health
...Carl was a practitioner of medicine, surgery, and public health. He was a teacher, researcher, and scholar. He was a mentor to thousands, and he was a global leader in the field he did so much to create – international health – and a passionate advocate for community health, women’s empowerment, community empowerment, and primary health care as defined in the Declaration of Alma Ata (which he helped write).

Our troubled and hurting world needs more people like Carl Taylor...

Professor William A. Reinke, PhD, International Health
When I first met Carl Taylor in 1963 I was a neophyte in the field of international public health, and he was already an established leader in the field, though this at first was not apparent because of his modest, low-key demeanor. In working directly with him, however, I soon came to recognize his contributions to the public’s health, and he served as a highly valued mentor and friend throughout my career. He was a cherished role model while encouraging and facilitating my own growth and development.

Professor Alan Sorkin, PhD, International Health
My first opportunity to spend much time with Dr. Taylor occurred on July 20, 1969. This was the day that the first American astronauts landed on the moon. Dr. Taylor watched the moon landing on television at the American Embassy in New Delhi and then we drove along the Grand Trunk Road to Narangwal arriving in the early evening.

Dr. Taylor once described himself at an AID site visit as a “villager.” He was most at home in the rural areas of developing countries. He spent much of his professional life encouraging local people to develop their own solutions to health and social problems.

Adjunct Associate Professor Robert (Bob) Parker, MD, MPH, Department of International Health
...Carl was my PI, mentor, research guide, and model of how to live and work at the village level. In spite of the many ups and downs of the research projects we were involved in, Carl was always optimistic and full of ideas. The Narangwal project staff called him the big "E!" for his enthusiasm.

Assistant Professor, Courtland Robinson, PhD,
International Health

It was this faith that gave Carl the warmth, humility, and vigor with which he undertook every task and encounter; and it was the same faith that gave him the grace to be present to the suffering in the world including, in the end, his own death. In the bulletin for Mary’s memorial service several years ago, the Taylor family offered a quote from the novelist, E.M. Forster, that had been taped above her desk: “We move between two darknesses, and the two creatures who might enlighten us about them, the baby and the corpse, fail to do so.” Life begins and ends in mystery but, for Carl, it was a Great Mystery, God’s Mystery. It was not for the living to fully understand, but simply to live fully and enlighten the time between the two darknesses.

I am tempted to say “rest well, Carl, in the light perpetual” but something tells me he has his boots on, heading toward the furthest village, farther down the road.