Dr. Robert Tharratt, longtime CCHCS medical director, passes away

Photo of Dr. Robert Tharratt.
Dr. Robert Tharratt.

Robert Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, passed away in the comfort of his home with his family at his side on Aug. 20, 2020, after an intense battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, his sons, daughters-in-law, parents, siblings and other extended family. He has also touched the lives of countless friends and Scouts with his guidance and mentorship.

A longtime resident of the Sacramento area, Dr. Tharratt graduated from Cordova High School, received a BS in Biomedical Science from UC Riverside, an MD from UCLA, and an MPVM from UC Davis. In addition to 25 years as a Professor of Medicine and Anesthesiology at UC Davis, he held several leadership roles at the local, state, and national levels that focused on emergency preparedness, public safety, and pre-hospital medical care.

He worked closely with the Sacramento Fire Department Hazardous Materials Response Team, was Medical Director of the Sacramento County Emergency Medical Services, and as a member of the FEMA USAR Team that was deployed to assist with rescue efforts in New York following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Dr. Tharratt was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 2010 for his visionary service to California.

As the Statewide Medical Director for California Correctional Health Care Services for more than 10 years, Dr. Tharratt worked tirelessly to improve health care for the incarcerated through system-wide reforms that met the constitutional mandate.

“Under his leadership, we launched impactful change in our system, including such highlights as the implementation of the complete care model, an electronic health care record, an enhanced substance use disorder program, and the delegation of medical care at 19 prisons back to state control,” said J. Clark Kelso, the Federal Receiver. “His leadership and knowledge will always remain valued and respected at CCHCS and in the health care community. Dr. Tharratt was a friend and mentor to many, and his legacy of innovative thinking, thoughtful leadership and compassion for all patients will carry forward in the great work we do at CCCHS.”

He will be remembered for his integrity, devotion to family, service, and exemplary leadership skills.

Donations to honor Dr. Tharratt may be made to The Boy Scouts of America James E. West Fellowship Award. Mail checks to: Golden Empire Council, P.O. Box 13558, Sacramento, CA 95853-3558. In the memo line, reference Steve Tharratt, James E. West.