Sarah Samuels DrPH ’82


Sarah SamuelsSarah Samuels DrPH ’82, born Sarah Finkelhor, died March 29, 2012 at Oakland Kaiser Hospital of complications from treatment for lymphoma. She was a public health researcher, advocate and founder of the firm Samuels & Associates which specialized in the evaluation of nutrition and obesity prevention programs.

Sarah served as a leader and visionary in the field of public health, influencing thought and practice via mentorship, participation on advisory boards, and numerous presentations and publications. She held a doctorate in public health from the University of California Berkeley, where she also taught courses and served as an adjunct faculty. She had recently been chosen as the school’s 2012 alumnus of the year, an award that will be made on May 19.

Prior to founding Samuels & Associates, Sarah served for 9 years as a program officer for the Kaiser Family Foundation. During her tenure there, she created Project LEAN, a national social marketing campaign to change the eating habits of Americans. She had also served as Pew Health Policy Scholar at the University of California at San Francisco’s Institute for Health Policy Studies.

Sarah was born in Pittsburgh, PA, daughter of Dr. Howard Finkelhor a neurologist, and Marion Kamin Finkelhor, one of the first female judges in Pennsylvania. Sarah attended Falk School, Ellis School, and the Woodstock Country School in Woodstock, VT. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree at Antioch College, Yellow Springs and two masters degrees at the Columbia University. She was active in national public health organizations, and received the 2005 Catherine Cowell award for Public Health Nutrition Practice from the American Public Health Association. She was also an avid hiker, walker, reader, movie and concert-goer.

She leaves behind her devoted husband of 28 years, Dr. Joel Simon, retired internist from the San Francisco VA Medical Center and emeritus professor in the Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology at UCSF, and her son Jeremy Simon, both of Oakland, CA. She is also survived by 2 brothers David Finkelhor of Portland ME, and Dr. Benjamin Asher of New York City.

Gifts in Sarah’s memory may be made to the “UC Berkeley Foundation” and sent to UC Berkeley School of Public Health, 417-H University Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360. Please note in the memo field “In memory of Sarah Samuels.”

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