Harvey Picker

Businessperson, Deceased Person

1915 – 2008


Who was Harvey Picker?

Harvey Picker 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 is to promote patient-centered healthcare.

Picker's father, James, founded Picker X-ray 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, then, between 1972-1983, 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.

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Dec 8, 1915
New York City
  • United States of America
  • Colgate University
  • Harvard Business School
Mar 22, 2008

on July 23, 2013


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