John Grant's work has influenced the health care of half of the people of the world.
He took his own advice to look for health trends 15 to 20 years in the future when he developed a comprehensive rural primary care program in Ding Xian, China, in the 1920s. His concept was to train bright young people in each village, which was a model he had witnessed in Maryland's Washington County when he was a student at the School.
The Chinese plan was a precursor of the barefoot doctor program espoused by Chairman Mao. Dr. Grant recreated the model in Punjab, India, after leaving China during the Japanese invasion.
The son of missionaries, he was born in China. He received his formal education in the United States but returned to teach public health at Peking Union Medical College. He also directed the All-India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health in Calcutta.
Dr. Grant served as general secretary of an Italian commission to study the reorganization of health services and was a medical consultant for Southeast Asia. In the U.S., he was a member of the President's Commission on the Health Needs of the Nation. In 1953, he was a member of a United Nations mission to study community organization and development in South and Southeast Asia.
Dr. Grant's legacy is applied daily in remote villages all over the world by men and women who share the vision of community-based primary care. Among them is his son, James, who served as director of UNICEF, and as a member of the Honorary Committee for the School's anniversary.