Leadership Delivering Results for Our Community
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Iris A. Taylor, Ph.D. is DPS! A native Detroiter, Dr. Taylor's rise to success was very unconventional. She is perseverance, resilience and fortitude personified.
A product of Detroit Public Schools, Dr. Taylor studied at Peck, Durfee, and graduated from Central High School. Upon completion of high school, she entered the workforce as a grocery clerk, working at Allied Supermarket, (Big Bear, Four Season, Wrigley, Great Scott) and eventually becoming a dues paying member of the Retail Clerks, first as a vested member and eventually union steward.
While working, Iris enrolled at Wayne State University, earning her bachelor and master’s degrees in nursing and her doctorate of philosophy. She also completed a management fellowship at the Wharton School of Business.
Through her own life and studies she's proven herself a maverick for education and continues to demonstrate its importance as the matriarch of her family. She has supported, both emotionally and financially, a host of niece and nephew’s higher education goals. Iris clearly understands that a solid education is breeding ground for all things positive!
As a lifelong devotee to service, Iris has enjoyed mentoring future nurses and implementing programs that help the people of Detroit. She has volunteered for community organizations and served on several director boards, such as those of Detroit Central City Community Mental Health and the Merrill-Palmer Institute. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Association, Iris sits on both the Finance and Program Compliance committees. Iris is also Board Chairman for the Detroit Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America. She is an adjunct professor at Wayne State University’s College of Nursing and School of Medicine.
As former President of DPS Community District School Board, Iris was a champion for all students, just as she was for herself and is for her family. Iris is honored to now serve as Nursing Director for the Detroit Health Department. She serves as the lead public health nurse for the department overseeing clinical operations, including the management of staff, and procedures related to clinical programs and public outreach.
Iris A. Taylor
October 8, 2007 updated 07/07/16
Crain's Detroit Most Influential Women
Claim to fame in 2002: Was chief nursing officer for The Detroit Medical Center and implemented programs to slow attrition and boost recruitment of nurses. Between 1998 and 1999, the vacancy rate dropped from 22 percent to 8 percent.
What's new: Was appointed president of Harper and Hutzel hospitals in 2003 and was responsible for combining the two institutions and improving their financial position. Became president of Detroit Receiving, whose financial position was so poor, the DMC considered closing it down, in 2004. Taylor, 55, worked to both cut costs and increase revenue, as well as improve morale. The hospital posted net income of $6.9 million in 2006.
March 18, 2002
Crain's Detroit Most Influential Women
In 1998, the DMC was cutting back, and Taylor had a problem. The staff was demoralized. The vacancy rate among nurses, her specific charge, was 22 percent or 400 openings. The high number of vacancies led to stress and overwork for the nurses who remained.
Taylor, 50, said her goal was to change the focus from "poor me" to "why are we here?" She created a mission statement that described the care available at the DMC, emphasizing its quality and the devoted staff. That was followed with an aggressive recruiting campaign and encouragement of existing staff to take personal ownership of the organization. A year later, the vacancy rate had dropped to 8 percent.
Boards: Michigan Peer Review Organization; Merrill-Palmer Institute; Detroit Central City Community Mental Health; Neighborhood Service Organization; Eastern Michigan University advisory board, School of Nursing; Detroit Eastern Mental Health.
Education: B.S. and M.S. in nursing, Ph.D., Wayne State University.