Barry S. Dorfman MD, MPH ’70


Barry S. Dorfman MD, MPH ’70 died peacefully at age 71 surrounded by his family. A graduate of UCSF Medical School in 1966, he earned a masters’ degree in public health from UC Berkeley in 1970. Dedication to public service and uncompromising integrity marked his professional life. Dr. Dorfman’s career began as a Peace Corps staff physician in India (1967-1969). The experience opened his mind to exploring a future in public health. He became board certified in preventative medicine and moved to Humboldt County, Calif., becoming health officer for Humboldt and Del Norte Counties (1973-1975). There he promoted expansion of public health services into areas never before served and extended the department’s role in environmental health. His efforts to protect the public from toxic sewage led to the preservation of open space that still exists between the cities of Eureka and Arcata. In 1975, he moved to Sacramento to work for the State Department of Health Services where he rose to become assistant director—one of the few persons in a leadership position with local experience. During his tenure with the Department (1975-1991), he helped make the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program (CHDP) permanent; protected indigent and local public health services from the ravages of Prop. 13; expanded eligibility for refugee health services to include all family members; led licensing and certification of health facilities; and served as the State’s TB Controller. In 1991, he left Health Services for a Psychiatry Residency at Camarillo State Hospital. He became board certified in psychiatry at age 55, an accomplishment that made him particularly proud.

After he and his wife moved to Morro Bay, Calif., in 1992, he practiced psychiatry at the Atascadero State Hospital and California Men’s Colony. In 2001, he was successfully treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2008, having developed several autoimmune illnesses, he retired, and he and his wife moved to Alameda, Calif., to be closer their family.

He is survived by Leabah Winter, his wife of 39 years. He was devoted to his children from a prior marriage: son, Aaron; daughter, Shanti; daughter, Tamar and son-in-law, Joe Kahne; grandsons Obie and Manny Kahne. He was close to his brothers, David Dorfman (Suzaan Boettger), of New York and Ron Dorfman of Oakland.

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