In Memoriam

Judith Barker

Judith Barker

March 19, 1947 - March 28, 2023

Dr. Judith C. Barker’s first degree was in chemistry (1972), but she added anthropology after preferring community-based and non-lab work. Typical of Judith’s adventurous spirit, she took a year before graduating to drive from London all the way to Capetown, South Africa. She returned to New Zealand to graduate with honors from Victoria University. She then took a Master’s degree in medical sociology from the University of London. In 1985 she completed a PhD in the joint Program in Medical Anthropology at the University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley.

Her academic career began the following year as an Associate Research Anthropologist in the Medical Anthropology Program at UCSF, in what later became the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine. She was promoted to Professor in Residence in 2000, and in 2011, became Professor in Residence in the Department of Preventive & Restorative Dental Sciences. She held several additional visiting and guest faculty positions during her career. Her research centered on examining the experience of illness among various communities, with a mind toward health disparities and vulnerable populations. For example, she wrote about the experiences of family caregivers of immigrant populations. She worked extensively on chronic illness affecting older adults, and among her contributions were insights about nonkin caregivers of dependent elderly individuals. More recently, she illuminated oral health needs of vulnerable populations, especially for children. She was a founding investigator in the creation of the Center to Address Disparities in Children’s Oral Health (CANDO), helping to guide its multidisciplinary approach to understanding and improving children’s oral health equity for 10 years. Most of her research was team-based, interdisciplinary work, and she collaborated with dentists, physicians, social scientists, public health professionals and others in the School of Dentistry, Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, Program in Human Sexuality, and worked in all four clinical schools at UCSF.

She served on editorial boards for journals ranging from Medical Anthropology Quarterly to Aging and Ethnicity to Human Sexuality. In 2009 she was elected as a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, and in 2011 won the Polgar Prize of the Society for Medical Anthropology for her paper on oral health disparities of Mexican-American farmworkers’ children.

Judith was an engaged teacher and mentor to many students in the UCSF Medical Anthropology program, and was generous in sharing knowledge of the NIH funding models and her grant writing skills, benefiting generations of post-doctoral trainees and early stage faculty as they forged their careers. Judith was also an integral and much beloved mentor in the summer training program for early-career faculty doing HIV prevention research among US minority populations, Cancer Center research programs, and School of Dentistry. After serving for over 30 years, she became Professor Emerita in 2014. She continued writing and consulting after retirement, and could be found spending her time engaging in meaningful conversations and debates with her wife and dear friends, traveling, or enjoying a good cup of coffee.

In lieu of flowers, Judith asked that donations be made to the fund she created after her wife Linda Mitteness’s death in November 2022, to continue their support of social justice issues for LGBT+ populations, particularly for the mental health of transgender youth

Fund Website:    

Linda S. Mitteness

Linda S. Mitteness

July 21, 1950 - November 19, 2022

Linda was born in Benson, Minnesota, and attended a one-room schoolhouse near her family's farm. She received her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University in 1975 and arrived at UCSF in 1977 as a research assistant. After taking a position in the Medical Anthropology Program, she began her research on the management of chronic illnesses among older people. As one of the first social scientists to study this topic, she was regularly consulted by physicians and biomedical researchers and was invited to speak at conferences for the National Institute of Aging. At UCSF, Linda taught doctoral-level courses in statistics and methods in the social sciences, child development, and the ethics of scientific research. For ten years, she directed the post-doctoral program in Medical Anthropology and served for six years as the Program Chair. Elected to the Gerontological Society of America, Linda was also one of the founding members of the Social Gerontology group of the American Anthropology Association.

Sharon Kaufman

Sharon Kaufman

1948 - April 2, 2022

A San Francisco native, Sharon was born at Mt. Zion Hospital in 1948 to Dr. Bernard Kaufman, a person of note in the San Francisco medical and Jewish communities, and Shirley Kaufman, a world-renowned poet. Sharon was one of the first PhD candidates from a joint UCSF-UC Berkeley program in the burgeoning field of Medical Anthropology. Her dissertation became her debut book, The Ageless Self (1986), which launched her distinguished career. Sharon wrote three more books--The Healer's Tale (1993), ...And a Time to Die (2005), and Ordinary Medicine (2015)--and countless published articles tacking subjects including the culture of medicine, aging and end-of-life, and the medical-industrial complex. Sharon was a Professor Emerita of Medical Anthropology at UCSF and former Chair of the Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine. She mentored hundreds of students and influenced thousands of practitioners in the medical profession while becoming widely recognized as one of the world's foremost experts in her field. 

Carroll Brodsky

December 23, 1922 - August 12, 2014

Dr. Carroll M. Brodsky was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on December 23, 1922. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942 and served until 1946. He earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Catholic University of America in 1954 and moved to San Francisco, where he earned an M.D. in Psychiatry at UCSF with a residency at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute. In 1960, he joined the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and became Professor of Psychiatry in 1972. During his time at UCSF, he created a course on the Social and Cultural basis of Illness Behavior, a subject that drew on his training in both anthropology and medicine. He also served as a dissertation advisor in Medical Anthropology at UCSF and UC Berkeley.

Corrine Nydegger

April 15, 1930 - July 28, 2013

Dr. Corinne Nydeger was born on April 15, 1930 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Aging at Pennsylvania State University and followed her Ph.D. training with a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Public Health Service postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF. She left a legacy of research contributions in the fields of anthropology, life span human development, and aging.