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Alumnus honoured for contributions to health and well-being of people around the world

Posted: October 3, 2016 6:00 a.m.

“My undergrad experience at the University of Regina and the dynamism of the time made me an outward-looking and more adventurous person.”  Dr. Geoffrey Taylor - Bachelor of Science with distinction ‘74.
“My undergrad experience at the University of Regina and the dynamism of the time made me an outward-looking and more adventurous person.” Dr. Geoffrey Taylor - Bachelor of Science with distinction ‘74. Photo courtesy of Laughing Dog Photography

Pioneering infectious disease doctor, teacher and mentor, Dr. Geoffrey Taylor has been honoured with many awards since he received his BSc degree in Biology in 1974 in the University of Regina’s inaugural convocation as an independent degree-granting institution.

He enthusiastically describes his Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award from his original alma mater as “incredibly satisfying.” There is, he adds, no higher recognition that he could receive for his work.

Taylor is as deserving of recognition as he is modest. In his distinguished four-decade career in medicine he has made important contributions to the health and well-being of people from around the world. That world view, he says, began at the University of Regina.

“My undergrad experience at the University of Regina and the dynamism of the time made me an outward-looking and more adventurous person,” Taylor says. “Shortly after I graduated, I spent six months in India, traveling on my own. That experience grew directly from my University of Regina experience, and resulted in my lifelong interest in infectious diseases and international cultural experiences.”


The example of an undergraduate friend led him to apply to medical school at the University of Saskatchewan. After graduating in 1977, he then began a career that has included pioneering work in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, control and prevention of infectious diseases and teaching and mentoring students and medical colleagues.

An associate recalls that when Taylor co-founded the HIV clinic at the University of Alberta Hospital, he promoted an innovative team approach that included not only physicians but pharmacists, social workers and dietitians. Surveying the disease status today, Taylor observes that while effective HIV treatments are available, only about 40 per cent of the 36 million people around the world requiring treatment are receiving it.

“The global HIV/AIDS situation is a classic glass half full, half empty situation,” Taylor stresses. “Highly effective treatment to contain HIV infection is now available and a bundle of prevention strategies are available that together can effectively halt transmission. Together treatment and prevention would halt the HIV/AIDS pandemic if made widely available. Much of the challenge is in Africa, but even in countries such as Canada there remain challenges, particularly in marginalized populations. Unfortunately, despite advances, globally 2 million new cases a year continue to occur and one million deaths. There’s still lots to be done.”

As soon as Taylor completed his residency training he joined the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alberta and today he continues to serve as the director of the Infection Control Unit at the University of Alberta Hospital and Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

Among his many international postings, he has served as a visiting lecturer at the Fiji School of Medicine; trainer for the AIDS training program and visiting professor in Uganda; visiting expert for Singapore’s Health Manpower Development plan; and, visiting professor in New Zealand and Hong Kong.

His travels around the world and his experiences with HIV/AIDS patients and medical research and treatment advocates has given him a unique insight into the human spirit and the strength of community.

“During the early years, a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS was extremely scary – a probable death sentence. Many health care providers were equally scared. So much was unknown, which added to that fear. We saw community groups develop for self support. The MSM (men who have sex with men) community mobilized politically and proceeded to aggressively lobby for research and care. Community based protests became common at scientific meetings. This activism has now been widely adopted by other medical interest groups. Undoubtedly, community activism was highly effective in influencing the biomedical research agenda. At a personal level, I saw – and still see – many examples of individual strength in adversity, and partners and families who devote huge amounts of time and financial resources to caring for loved ones.”


The 2016 Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards celebration is Thursday, October 6 at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina. Come and support your Alumni. Please visit here for ticket and event information.