John Jauregui, Physician


John Jauregui, Physician

Jauregui Residence: 1167 Oxford Street

John Jauregui, once one of Berkeley’s most sought after physicians, was born to a poor family in the California border village of San Ysidro. He didn’t get his first pair of shoes until the fifth grade. Jauregui attended Pomona College, the University of Vienna, and McGill University Medical School. In 1961 he and his first wife, Elizabeth Barr, and their four children moved to a remote Cambodian village where he ran a clinic sponsored by Medico. Practicing with only a Bunsen burner for sterilization, Jauregui said he learned medicine “by the seat of my pants.” In Cambodia he discovered the effectiveness of minimal medicine and non-traditional treatments. The couple adopted their fifth child, the new-born of a woman who died while trying to reach his clinic. After Cambodia, Jauregui moved to Berkeley and completed his residency at Herrick Hospital.

Jauregui and his first partner, H. Stewart Kimball (soon joined by Gordon Benner and later by Elizabeth Powell), approached medicine with a strong social consciousness. They treated the homeless as well as Nobel Laureates and were among the first to prescribe methadone to heroin addicts.

With his second wife, Ann Trumbull Bratt, a psychotherapist and author of Epiphanies: A Psychotherapist’s Tales of Spontaneous Emotional Healing, Jauregui settled into a remodeled Berkeley farmhouse where they raised their combined family of ten, which later included 14 grandchildren.

In the mid-70s, while President of the Alta Bates Hospital Medical Staff and a faculty member of Berkeley’s University of California Health & Medical Sciences Program, Jauregui began losing control over his practice. Over the years his frustration with stifling bureaucracy mounted, and in 2004 he finally quit medicine. The announcement, stating that his practice was no longer “what I trained for and loved,” evoked well over a thousand calls and notes pleading with him to stay on. In his post-practice years, Jauregui spent time with his family in the Sierra and in northern New Mexico. A passionate autobiography, Medicine is Not a Science, and Aging is Not an Illness, remains in draft form.

Contributed by Robert Kehlmann, 2014

  • Jauregui Residence, photo (2014) R. Kehlmann.

  • Jauregui family, photo (1963), courtesy Jauregui family.

  • Ann and John Jauregui, photo (2006) courtesy Jauregui family.

  • Jauregui's final visit with Huston Smith (2014), courtesy Jauregui family.

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society