June 20, 2023

Honoring the legacy of John Taylor

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Behind The ScenesThe Department of Medical Education mourns the passing of John Taylor, Medical Education Information Services Director. John worked 29 years at UAB, serving the last 22 years as the Director of Information Technology for Heersink School of Medicine. He is survived by his wife, Pamela Palmer Taylor, and children, Caroline and Carson.

John spent his life learning, truly valuing education and committed himself to training and educating others. He received a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Alabama in 1991 and an MBA from UAB in 1998. He spent nearly the next 15 years teaching Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, SQL Server Administration, and SQL Server Programming for UAB HR Training and Development while also performing his duties for the IT department.

John's legacy within Medical Education cannot be overstated. He was instrumental in developing our technological imprint and keeping our ability to educate students through technology at the forefront of the department's vision. He developed Heersink School of Medicine's student information system, learning management system, and curriculum mapping system, among dozens of other applications. Through his leadership of the MEIS team, he helped create and maintain the technical systems used in our medical school: databases, class lottery systems, and registration portals.

"With the rate that technology advances and evolves, it takes a visionary individual to keep an organization at the forefront of innovation," says Craig Hoesley, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education. "For a medical institution, this is even more paramount as we train the next generation of medical professionals. John was one of the instrumental visionaries for Heersink School of Medicine and the Department of Medical Education, helping us navigate education in a world that has changed drastically in the past few decades and continues to change daily. His leadership and presence on our team will be missed."

John served on various Heersink School of Medicine strategic planning and advisory committees and was Heersink School of Medicine's representative for the AAMC Group on Information Resources. His knowledge and expertise were pivotal in the strategic direction of the university's technology utilization for nearly three decades.

As a supervisor, he leaves a lasting impact on his team. "John was an extremely well-rounded family man, mentor, and leader who had a quick wit and a great sense of humor," says Adam Agee, Assistant Director of Information Technology, who worked with John for 13 years. "He was a truly selfless individual who never shied away from an opportunity to help others expand their horizons. His legacy and countless contributions to the school will never be forgotten."

Many of John's "countless contributions" can be seen in areas that directly support and impact the success of our students. Christina Grabowski, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Admissions and Enrollment Management, notes, "John had a 'can-do' spirit, a great sense of humor, and immense talent. As I think about all the improved processes and services in enrollment management, every one of them has John's fingerprints. On top of all of his tremendous contributions as a leader, educator, and 'IT guy,' he was, more importantly, a fabulous human being and devoted family man. I miss him each and every day."

James Willig, M.D., Assistant Dean of Clinical Education, also remembers John's commitment to advancing our ability to educate. "When I began to interact with him as an Assistant Dean," he says, "I began to get a glimpse at the complex data systems that underpin critical medical school processes, like scheduling or crafting MSPE letters. John created these data systems, designing them and thinking through their interconnections years before any commercial software was available that could meet the vision that our medical school faculty and staff wanted to achieve for our students."

John was not only a committed employee of Heersink School of Medicine, but he was a good, kind person. He placed others' needs above his own, whether in the office or with his own family. He was supportive and selfless in his actions toward everyone around him.

Freddie Walker Jr., Information Systems Specialist, above all else, remembers John's kindness and support, even from their first interaction. "If you are familiar with Volker Hall, finding your way around is like navigating through a maze, and locating John's area is even more difficult," he recalls. After Freddie arrived a few minutes late for his interview, John responded with a big smile and told him not to worry. "John had a way of putting you at ease."

As the Department of Medical Education, our thoughts and support go out to John's family, friends, and team. John Taylor's influence and impact are felt throughout all groups and areas within the department, and he will forever be missed.