Dr. Michael Taylor of Portland recently received a Presidential Citation Award from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) for his work with Konbit Sante Cap-Haitien Health Partnership, which he co-founded in Maine in 2001 with his wife, Wendy.
The Taylors spent several days in late February and early March attending the AAD’s 77th Annual Meeting conference in Washington, D.C. The Presidential Citation was awarded by AAD President Dr. Suzanne Olbricht on Feb. 28 during the Academy’s 2019 Stars of the Academy Awards Ceremony at the Marriott Marquis. Dr. Taylor received a plaque which reads “In recognition of your long-term commitment to the health of underserved peoples through the establishment of Konbit Sante and partnership with the Justinian Hospital in Cap Haitien, Haiti.” He was also recognized at the AAD’s annual business meeting on March 3.
The largest organization of dermatologists worldwide, AAD has more than 16,000 members from more than 35 countries. More than 6,000 dermatologists attended the Annual Meeting.
While in Washington, the Taylors had a special lunch with U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, in the Capitol dining hall. Congresswoman Pingree entered an acknowledgment of Konbit Sante and its role into the Congressional Record on Feb. 28.
While honored by the AAD award, Dr. Taylor said the success of Konbit Sante would not have been possible without the work of the many people who have worked for and supported the organization over the years. “Wendy and I always acknowledge that this is a group effort,” he said.
Konbit Sante Executive Director Nate Nickerson credits the Taylors’ vision and enthusiasm as being essential for putting Konbit Sante on the path to success. “I remember the call from Michael, almost 19 years ago now, in which he described the as-of-yet unnamed group that he and Wendy had gathered to explore looking for a better way to engage in global health work. Like so many people that have been involved with Konbit Sante since, his enthusiasm and vision drew me into the picture,” Nickerson said. “I am forever grateful for the initiative the Taylors took to ‘give birth’ to this organization, and for their leadership to set it on a good path.”
One of Dr. Taylor’s colleagues in Haiti was also pleased to hear about the award.
“I have a great memory of him as someone who has empathy and is very sensitive to the suffering of Haitian patients,” said Dr. Jean Gracia Coq, medical director at Justinian University Hospital. “I had the privilege to stay at his home in Portland in April 2007 in order to participate in meetings about governance, an invitation from Konbit Sante. I still keep in my wardrobe a ‘parrot’ tie that he gave me during my stay in Maine, and wear it for exceptional occasions.”
In addition to co-founding Konbit Sante, Dr. Taylor is a member of Gloderm, a committee composed of dermatologists who promote and engage in education and care programs in the developing world, and of the Climate Change Consortium, which focuses on the adverse effects on skin caused by climate change. AAD is one of several medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, that are bringing attention and scientific knowledge to this crisis.
Please join all of us at Konbit Sante in congratulating the Taylors for their years of tireless work, which has played no small part in helping to make Konbit Sante one of the most respected NGOs working in Haiti.