Dr Joseph L. Tait

Dr. Joseph Lloyd Tait


CEO and President
Harlem Commonwealth Council, Inc.

Dr. Joseph Lloyd Tait, of Jamaican descent, came to Harlem in 1960 and immediately immersed himself into the politics of Harlem. He served as CEO and President of the Harlem Commonwealth Council, Inc. until he retired in September 2020.

He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary College in the United States in 1968 with 25 years experience in developing training programs for Humane Shelters for Stray and Unwanted Animals.

Dr. Tait was also a founding member of the Fred Samuels Democratic Club and was the fundraiser for the Councilman’s campaigns. At the same time, he was the first black Veterinarian in New York City, and became the first black Veterinarian to be appointed to the New York State Board for Veterinary Medicine, later becoming its Chairman from 1988 through 1990. He was a mentor to other black Veterinarians and as the owner of multiple practices, provided them with business opportunities.

Dr. Tait also sat on the Francis Delafield Hospital Community Board and was a member of the Borough Board of the Manhattan Borough President’s office. He was a Consultant Veterinarian to the World Society for the Protection of Animals working on World Health Organization recommended Stray Control Programs. This included consultative work with Ministries of Tourism, Agriculture and Veterinary Services, Education, Environment, and Health in implementing WHO’s Stray Control program.

Dr. Tait co-authored “Concepts in Animal Welfare” and has been instrumental in introducing these concepts to Veterinary Faculties in Latin America, specifically Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Peru. He also published articles in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Additional accomplishments include becoming the first person of color to establish a veterinary medical practice in NYC, the first person of color appointed President of the NYC Veterinary Society, and the first person of color appointed to the New York State Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Earlier this year, Dr. Tait provided enormous funding, $500,000, for a new Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Infusion Project at the Jamaica College all-boys high school in Kingston, a school he himself attended.