01/16/13 — Dr. David Tayloe honored with Cornerstone Award

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Dr. David Tayloe honored with Cornerstone Award

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on January 16, 2013 1:46 PM

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Dr. David Tayloe listens to a short biography of his achievements during the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Awards banquet. Tayloe was honored with the Cornerstone Award for the contributions he has made in the community and especially in children's health care. Behind Dr. Tayloe are his daughters, Rebecca Seegars, left, and Katherine MacDonald.

Dr. Larry Nickens stood before a throng of the county's elite Tuesday night to introduce a colleague as the winner of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce's highest honor.

With Cornerstone recipient Dr. David Tayloe looking on from the audience, Nickens listed the accolades and accomplishments of the man who, more than 30 years ago, set the standard for pediatric care in Wayne County.

The award was a total surprise to Tayloe, 63.

His daughter, Rebecca, had told him that his son-in-law and former Chamber chairman Ben Seegars was going to be honored and she wanted him to attend the function at the Walnut Creek Country Club.

"I told my wife we had to come out to this," he said, adding that he told his staff at Goldsboro Pediatrics they would have to adjust his schedule so he could be at the banquet on time.

As Nickens began speaking, that same staff filed into the banquet hall, having known for weeks he was the man of the hour.

"They did a nice job," he said afterward.

Incoming Chamber Chairman Tom Bradshaw said Tayloe's impact on children across the state and his national renown notwithstanding, his dedication to the health of Wayne County children since he began practicing in 1977 made him an easy choice for the prestigious award.

Tayloe has led national and state pediatrics organizations and was also fundamental in championing medical care in schools, serving on the Goldsboro and Wayne County school boards before, during and after the merger of the two systems.

Tayloe said making health care available to all, regardless of their station, has always been his goal -- one he's still not finished with.

"I made a decision when I came here that I was going to take care of every child that came through the door, regardless of ability to pay," he said.

That's what convinced him to open up his own practice in Goldsboro, he said, since he wanted to be able to care for his patients his way.

"I turned down group practices," he said, noting that Goldsboro was among 13 areas across the region he considered after medical school at UNC-Chapel Hill, which he attended as a Morehead Scholar.

Goldsboro Pediatrics began with only Tayloe as a young doctor determined to care for children on his terms.

The growth of Medicaid throughout his career helped to make that happen, although Nickens pointed out during his presentation that Tayloe was also a factor into creating legislation to increase coverage for children -- another of his accomplishments.

Tayloe still doesn't see his job as finished, however, as he said pediatric care isn't very user-friendly for adolescents and not enough is done to support children's mental health in the county. He's counting on the expansion of Wayne Initiative for School Health centers to continue to shrink those gaps. WISH centers were created as collaborations between Wayne Memorial Hospital, the Duke Endowment, Goldsboro Pediatrics and the Wayne County Public Schools.

Tayloe said he will continue to push for expansion of those programs, which are in six of 32 district schools, and that he believes the benefits of creating healthy children far outweigh the costs incurred.

That mantra is what has guided him throughout his career, so it's no surprise that it's still the driving force behind his work.

But in accepting the award, he credited his accomplishments to the community and his staff, whom he said had been immensely supportive of his vision.

"There are people in this community and state committed to taking care of children," he said. "This would not happen in a vacuum."