UC Berkeley News


Alfred Childs

24 August 2006

Alfred Wheeler Childs, a former professor at the School of Public Health and a dedicated and committed alumnus, died July 5. He was 84.

Alfred Childs

Childs spent much of his life working toward improved health for all people as a physician, faculty member, and advocate for advances in healthcare services. He participated in every aspect of patient care, from treating individuals at home and abroad to directing an artificial-kidney unit to supporting the next generation of public-health leaders through active involvement at the School of Public Health (SPH).

Born in 1922 in San Francisco, he received a bachelor's degree in medical science from Berkeley in 1943 and a medical degree from UC San Francisco in 1946. He enlisted in the Army Reserve from 1943 to 1946, served in the Air Force as a medical officer for two years, and was in the Air Force Reserve from 1949 to 1964. He was a visiting fellow in medicine at Columbia University from 1954 to 1956.

In 1964, Childs received his master's degree in public health from Berkeley. He served on the faculty for the next 11 years, as well as on the clinical faculties of Stanford Medical School and UC San Francisco. He also worked on the medical staffs of Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley and Presbyterian Hospital in San Francisco; at the latter he directed the artificial-kidney unit.

An active alumnus, Childs lent his time and leadership skills to the California Alumni Association, the University Art Museum Council, and the board of directors of the UC Berkeley Public Health Alumni Association. He also represented SPH on the UC Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees. In 1993, SPH Dean Emerita Patricia Buffler established the Alfred W. Childs Distinguished Service Awards to recognize faculty and staff who exemplify Childs' generosity of spirit and commitment to the school. In 1991 he received the California Alumni Citation and in 1994 the Trustees Citation.

"Al was a tireless supporter of the School, and we were fortunate to benefit from his leadership and dedication," said current SPH Dean Stephen Shortell. "We were all privileged to to work with him."

Childs is survived by his wife, Eunice, and his family. A memorial is planned for Saturday, Sept. 16, from 1:30 to 4 p.m., at his former home in the San Francisco Towers, followed by a service at the Lutheran church nearby. For information, call 642-2299. Contributions in his memory can be made to the Alfred W. Childs Endowed Fund at the School of Public Health and mailed to Pat Hosel, Office of External Relations, 140 Earl Warren Hall, Berkeley, CA, 94720-7360.

- Kelly Mills