Claire Diane Borkert, 59, a prominent San Francisco Bay Area AIDS physician, died peacefully at her home in El Granada, California, on June 24, from cancer. A gifted doctor and natural conciliator, she devoted her professional life to the service of others, first as a social worker and then as an Internal Medicine physician. For the last 18 years, she served as the medical co-director of the East Bay AIDS Center (EBAC) at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, where she was also on the medical staff.
Claire was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the middle of five daughters of Jean and the late Sidney Borkert. She obtained her undergraduate degree at Memphis State University and her Masters in Social Work from University of Louisville, and then spent her early career as a social worker in Tennessee and Arizona. She also lived in San Diego and San Francisco before returning to Memphis, where she completed her medical degree at the University of Tennessee in 1988. Claire did medical rotations in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alaska before completing her residency at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, California. She subsequently worked at the Over 60 and the Native American Health Centers, and Kaiser and Highland Hospitals before joining EBAC.
Claire helped develop and obtain funding for programs to advance HIV care, and actively participated in international AIDS conferences and research forums. She started and ran EBAC’s Women’s HIV Program, which serves the largest group of women living with HIV in California. She served on the Board of Directors of the Family Care Network (a care consortium for women and youth affected by HIV) and Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases (WORLD). She was an avid dancer, sailor, kayaker, hiker, and craftsperson who made glass and wirework jewelry. Claire was known to her many friends, relatives, and patients as exceptionally warm and generous. She is survived by her beloved husband Larry Miller; her mother, who lives at Trezevant Manor, Memphis, TN; and four sisters, Carol Watkins, Pat Cox, and Ellen Hornyak of Memphis, TN, and Jane Hinson of Lexington, TN. A memorial celebration of Claire’s life is planned in San Francisco later this summer.