Howard Taras, M.D.

Howard Taras is a professor of pediatrics (MD from McMaster University; Residency University of Toronto; Fellowship in Community Pediatrics – UCSD). He specializes in medical consultation to school districts across California and with fostering community engagement for researchers. Dr. Taras assists school districts with medical policies. He also assists school districts to achieve optimal safety and least restrictive environments for students with special health care needs (504 plans, IEPs), modified physical education, homebound education, etc.

Dr. Taras is director of the Community Engagement division of the Clinical & Translational Research Institute, where he assists community agencies to link with researchers and assists researches with reaching community members and community-based professionals (e.g., for subject recruitment plans, to make research designs and content more relevant and adaptable to community practices).

Areas of Interest

  • School Health
  • Subject Recruitment and Community Engagement

Ongoing Projects

  • School districts (public and private) contract with UCSD for Dr. Taras’s medical consultation services.
    • In San Diego County, this includes: San Diego Unified School District, Bishops, Cajon Valley, Chula Vista Elementary, Bonita, Borrego Springs, Carlsbad Unified, Cathedral Catholic, Del Mar, Escondido, Fallbrook, Grossmont Union, La Mesa/Spring Valley, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, Marantha Christian, Poway, Ramona, Santee, San Diego Jewish Academy, SIA Tech, Valley Center.
      Other counties: Orange Co (8 districts), Los Angeles Co (5 districts), Ventura Co (1 district), San Bernadino Co (4 districts), Riverside Co (4 districts), Counties in Northern California (14 school districs).
  • Clinical & Translational Research Institute
    • Provides resources for investigators at all UCSD, SDSU and other partner institutions. Dr. Taras is responsible for the Community Engagement division.
      • Funder: National Institutes of Health
        Investigator: Gary Firestein, Principal Investigator
  • Share the Care – Dental Health Initiative
    • Dr. Howard Taras leads a team of educators and dental hygienists to promote oral health in San Diego County

Selected Publications

  • Taras HL, Kalichman MW, Schulteis G, Dumbauld J, Bell Y, Seligman FF, West KD. Soliciting community views of health research: a prelude to conducting specific research projects; Health Expectations 2014; doi: 10.1111/hex.12249.
  • Taras HL. School nursing: beyond medications and procedures. JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Jul 1;168(7):604-6. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.451.
  • Dumbauld J, Kalichman M, Bell Y, Dagnino C, Taras H. Case study in designing a research fundamentals curriculum for community health workers: a university-community clinic collaboration. Health Promotion Practice 2014; 15(1): 79–85
  • Taras H, Haste NM, Berry AT Tran J, Singh RF. Medications at School: Disposing of Pharmaceutical Waste. Journal of School Health 2014; 84(3):160-167. doi: 10.1111/josh.12132.

Selected Presentations

  • Schools and Children with Special Healthcare Needs (tailored differently to medical professionals and educational professionals)
  • Oral Health- What Every Medical Practitioner Needs to Know.
  • How to Engage with Community Agencies to Improve Research
  • Health and Developmental


  • “Basics of Oral Health for Physicians” ( 4th year medical students; all CHDP providers)
  • “School Health” to all pediatric residents (Navy and UCSD), and
  • Specific aspects of school health (e.g., fellows in developmental-behavioral pediatrics, neurology, etc.)


  • Editor, School Health Alert, national monthly research review publication for school nurses.
  • Manuscript reviewer, 18 journals (including, Academic Medicine, Journal of Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Journal of School Health, JAMA)


  • Member, Scientific Advisory Review Committee, San Diego Report Card for Children and Families
  • Steering Committee Member, San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative
  • Professional Advisory Board Member, Epilepsy Foundation of America – San Diego Chapter