50 Years of Community-Based Health Care
Recent APHA Awards Highlight the Department's Legacy and Continuing Leadership
In 1977, the late Professor Carl Taylor served as the founding chair of the International Health Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA). The Section’s aim is to call attention to the important relationship between domestic and international health and to the lessons one can learn from the other. Since its inception, Department faculty and alumni have been leading members of the IH Section. While many from the Department have been honored by APHA, a few recent IH Section Awards highlight the Department’s history and continuing influence in one crucial aspect of global health: community-based health care.
The APHA International Health Section’s 2010 Carl Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award went to Senior Associate Dory Storms. For many years, Dr. Storms led the USAID-funded Child Survival Support Project based in the Department. It was one of the first projects to provide technical assistance to NGOs implementing community-based child survival projects. Her work and the connections made during this time eventually led to the formation of the CORE Group, of which she was a founding member. The CORE Group’s mission is to improve and expand community-focused public health practices for underserved populations around the world.
Senior Associate Henry Perry, who received the 2009 Dory Storms Award from the Core Group, had this to say at the APHA awards presentation:
Dory’s passion for working with communities to enable them to improve their health, her deep understanding of the contributions that NGOs can make to community health, her love for mentoring younger colleagues, her unbelievable skills at networking, and her encouragement and guidance of those who were engaged in the creation of the CORE Group, have made and continue to make Dory one of my global health heroes.
The Lifetime Achievement award was renamed this year in honor of Professor Carl Taylor. Taylor’s now famous Narangwal Study in Punjab, India, from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s provided the foundation upon which much of the community-based health care research and implementation has been based, including the NGO projects that Storms’ office supported. His was one of the first to use an experimental design to test the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of integrating primary health care at the community level. The Narangwal study was also one of the first to show that community health workers could effectively deliver quality services at a cost considerably lower than through traditional channels. Many faculty and students would base their research and work on the foundations laid by the Narangwal Project.
The John Gordon and John Wyon Community-Oriented Public Health Award is also presented annually by the APHA International Health Section. Gordon and Wyon were two early pioneers who believed that communities must be involved in all aspects of their own health, including the design, implementation and evaluation of public health programs. Their work collecting community health data in Khanna, India, provided the foundation upon which Taylor later conducted his own study in Narangwal. The award in their memory was given posthumously this year to Professor Taylor. Taylor was also a student and colleague of Gordon’s at Harvard. Fifty years ago, Gordon, Taylor, and Dr. Nevin Scrimshaw wrote the seminal monograph on the interactions between nutrition and infection.
The second recipient of this year’s Gordon-Wyon Award was Hopkins alumnus, former IH Visiting Professor, and Taylor protégé, Dr. Raj Arole. He and wife, Dr. Mabelle Arole, also a Bloomberg School grad, used the lessons from Taylor’s Narangwal Study to start their own program in Jamkhed, India. The Comprehensive Rural Health Project now trains individuals and community groups in over 300 villages with a combined population of 500,000. Their book, entitled, Jamkhed: A Comprehensive Rural Health Project, with a forward by Taylor, is now one of the great classics in global health read throughout the world.
In 2009, the Gordon-Wyon Award went to Senior Associate Henry Perry. Perry was a student of Taylor’s for his MPH degree, and Storms was a thesis adviser for his doctorate in sociology and anthropology. After studying at Hopkins, he co-founded the NGO Andean Rural Health Care, now known as Curamericas Global, which focuses on improving child survival within the community and building the national and local capacity of health service providers. In the late 1980s, his NGO received a child survival grant from USAID, which would bring him back in touch with Dr. Storms and her team at Hopkins that was providing technical assistance to NGOs receiving grants under this program.
Select Public Health Organizations Built by
Curamericas Global, Inc.
The Comprehensive Rural Health Project, Jamkhed
After over 10 years working on child survival issues with Storms and many others, Perry began teaching at Future Generations. He was the first Carl Taylor Professor for Equity and Empowerment, the organization’s first endowed professorship. Perry taught courses in the master's degree program in Applied Community Change and Conservation. Currently, Perry is teaching courses in the Department of International Health, including the course originally developed by Taylor, “Case Studies in Primary Health Care,” as well as “Managing Non-Governmental Organizations in the Health Sector” and “Introduction to International Health.”
The handful of recent awards from just one organization offers a glimpse into the history of the Department and the evolution of one important aspect of global health: community-based health care. Moreover, the lives and work of these award recipients help to underscore the Department’s role in training and mentoring those who strive to improve the health of the most vulnerable populations across the world.
--Brandon Howard, February 2011