Terrie Taylor receives lifetime achievement award for malaria outreach, research


Terrie Taylor, D.O., University Distinguished Professor and Foundations Professor at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, added to her list of honors Thursday when she was presented with the 2024 Community Engagement Scholarship Lifetime Achievement Award at the MSU Outreach and Engagement Awards Ceremony.

The award “recognizes senior faculty members of outstanding and sustained accomplishment in community-engaged scholarship through research, creative activity, teaching, and/or service and practice over the span of a career.”

In a video message recorded in Malawi, Dr. Taylor sent her gratitude for the award. Dr. Taylor spends half the year in Malawi during malaria season. She attributes her recognition to spending six months a year in Malawi and offers part of the accolades to the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and its leadership over the years. Watch her message here.

“I think this award is a validation of all the support I’ve enjoyed all these years from the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and the university,” said Dr. Taylor, expanding on this in her video message, “Upon reflecting I realized this award exemplifies Michigan State’s modus operandi as a world grant university. We’re embedded, we work shoulder-to-shoulder with our colleagues, we go the distance.”

While outreach is a common priority among college faculty, it typically doesn’t account for half of their year, every year, in another country. For Dr. Taylor, spending six months a year in Malawi has been critical to her work.

“Being able to be in Malawi for six months a year, every single year, has made a huge difference in terms of our credibility here,” Dr. Taylor said, adding that people know her from the neighborhood and have grown to trust her and the team.

Being in person has also had a positive impact on medical students who “come to Malawi each year and are cherished at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital,” she said, adding, “They show up every day, they do a great job, and for them, it’s a capstone experience for their medical educations.”

The research and care of malaria patients in Malawi have resulted in numerous publications. And while new drugs have been discovered to kill the parasite that causes the disease, one in five children who develop the most severe forms of malaria still die. Research continues to focus on rescuing these children.