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The Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to older adults. Not only do we strive to provide state-of-the-art patient care, but our goal also includes advancing medicine through research so that patients may live longer, healthier lives. 

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Why I Give

Generous donor shares why she supports the mission of the Division

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Matthew Tayback’s, Sc.D., philosophy on life was simple, says his daughter, Sheila Leatherman. “He said, ‘All of us have the responsibility to try to do something good in our lifetimes,’” she recalls.

But in his lifetime, Dr. Tayback did more than just “good.” The former biostatistics consultant at Johns Hopkins Bayview Clinical Research Center, adjunct professor in the Department of International Health and Biostatistics at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and first director of the state’s Office on Aging improved the lives and health of people around the world.

He was at the forefront of local issues like infant mortality, teen pregnancy and tobacco risks, Leatherman says. Yet his work also included empowering senior citizens, modernizing health care information systems, building village wells in African countries, improving population planning in India and reducing the spread of communicable diseases.

“He was a remarkable combination of head and heart and a man of great compassion and conviction,” says Leatherman, who is a professor of health policy and management at Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

John Burton, M.D., professor of medicine, agreed. “I always admired him,” Dr. Burton says. “He was a visionary leader who tried to use state resources to improve the care and well-being of Maryland’s seniors. And as a mentor, he helped launch the careers of many young people.”

At age 85, Dr. Tayback remained committed to public health and despite his cancer diagnosis, he continued to participate as part of an international team that studied the nutritional status of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

To honor her father’s legacy and dedication to public health, Leatherman founded the Matthew Tayback Memorial Fund in 2004 in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. The fund pays for innovative lectures about everything from prevention and global health to aging and spirituality.

“Hopkins was an important part of his life,” Leatherman says. “He felt such loyalty to the organization. And I had so much love as a child of his, but also a deep respect as a public health professional for what he achieved in his lifetime.”

She adds, “The spirit of the gift was so Hopkins could remain at the cutting edge of medicine, because that’s what my father was in his time there.”