One of the famous Mad Men of the Peace Corps in the early years of the Peace Corps was the stoic Doctor Joseph English, a young MD and research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1961 when Shriver was putting together the Staff for the new agency, he came across a paper written about a student mental health center that English had established at his alma mater, Saint Joseph’s College.
Sarge at the time was looking for a psychiatrist to evaluate new PCVs. As Joe recalls in a recent profile in The Chironian, a publication of the New York Medical College, where Dr. English is the Sidney E. Frank Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, he was in his office at the NIMH reading an article in the New York Times how JFK’s call for a New Frontier was exciting young people all over the country and he thought, “What am I doing here?”
Then Shriver called out of the blue to see if Joe wanted to work at the Peace Corps. The rest is history.
From 1962 to 1966, Dr. English directed the mental side of Peace Corps Selecting. (More than a few of us will remember “High Risk/Low Gain.”) Besides selecting Volunteers, English also helped to recruit and train more than 100 Peace Corps in-country doctors. Of his time at the agency, Joe now says with full candor, “I really had no preparation for what I was doing!” He was just like all the other Mad Men of the Peace Corps in the early years, a young guy caught up in a great idea.
In 1966, English moved over to OEO and became Director for Health Affairs in the Executive Office of the President. This new job meant developing the community Health Center program, as well as the health programs of Head Start, the Job Corps, and VISTA.
The Peace Corps and OEO were just the first two stops on his long and illustrious career.
Read all about Doctor English: https://issuu.com/newyorkmedicalcollege/docs/chironian_2017_final/24