John C. Cutler was graduated from the Western Reserve University in 1941 with a medical degree. In 1942 he joined the U.S. Public Health Service and spent the next twenty-five years working in the PHS.
In 1967 he was appointed to the University of Pittsburgh as professor. Dr. Cutler began the head of the University of Pittsburgh's population studies program in the 1970s. He also served as the president of AVSC (currently known as Engenderhealth), president of the United Nations Association of Pittsburgh, and president of the World Federation of Health Agencies for the Advancement of Voluntary Surgical Contraception.
He was named professor emeritus in the International Health department of the Graduate School of Public Health at University of Pittsburgh. He retired in 1985 from the University.