Leadership in Action


The physician was in Nairobi, Kenya participating in a scientific conference and while there, he assisted with a clinic in the countryside to help individuals with heart related ailments. A young girl came through with severe congenital heart problems. While her problem could have been easily addressed back in the United States where he was a practicing cardiologist, he did not have the ability to help her in her native land. In broken English the girl’s mother asked, “Can you help us doctor?” He immediately replied that he would; however, the reality was that there was no easy solution to the plight of this young girl. That pivotal moment inspired him to form a non-profit organization called Heart to Heart which funded life-saving heart procedures for people from around the world including the young girl met in Nairobi that day.

This physician is Dr. Herman Taylor, and this story is an example of the kind of leader he is and his passion about making a difference. Dr. Taylor serves as principal investigator in the landmark Jackson Heart Study which is a long term population study by The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Jackson State University, and Tougaloo College. The purpose of the study is to characterize risks for cardiovascular disease in African-Americans. The study is following over 5,300 African-Americans in Jackson, and in addition to medical analysis, investigators are also analyzing lifestyle factors such as diet, stress, community and church involvement. The study recently celebrated its tenth anniversary of the first participant testing, and it is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through 2013.

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