Harvey Picker

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Harvey Picker (December 8, 1915 – March 22, 2008) was an American businessman, educator, inventor, and philanthropist. He was the founder, along with his wife, Jean, of the Boston-based Picker Institute, whose goal was to promote patient-centered healthcare.

Picker's father, James, founded Picker X-ray, which was acquired by General Electric Co. Ltd. of England in 1981, which produced air-dropped X-ray labs for the Army in World War II and the Korean War. The younger Harvey led the company into such pioneering fields as cobalt treatment for cancer and ultrasound and nuclear imaging diagnostics. He remained with the company from 1946-1968.

At age 50, Picker sold the family business and earned his doctorate. He worked briefly in the diplomatic service, taught political science at Colgate University. Between 1972-1983 he served as dean of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Dr. and Mrs. Picker believed that the American health care system was technologically and scientifically outstanding, but overall was not sensitive to patients' concerns and their comfort. Thus, in 1986, they founded the Picker Institute — a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing a patient-centered approach to healthcare — and in 2000 founded the Picker Institute Europe.

Jean Picker, who died in 1990, served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations and was a journalist for Life Magazine.

The Picker Institute ceased operations in January 2013.[1]


  1. ^ staff (15 January 2014). "Picker Institute ceases operations after three decades". penbaypilot.com. Retrieved 22 August 2014.

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