Dr. Robert L. Sokolove, 72, died early on Sunday morning, October 28th, after an 11-month struggle with brain cancer, with his wife of 41 years at his side.
A native of Los Angeles, California, Dr. Sokolove attended the University of California at Berkeley, graduating in 1968. While at Berkeley, he discovered a lifelong passion for social justice. This led him to volunteer for a year with VISTA (Volunteers in Service To America) as a community organizer in rural Virginia before moving to Boston to study psychology at Boston University. Dr. Sokolove received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1975 and continued to teach at BU for the remainder of his career along with his other professional work. Shortly after receiving his doctorate, Dr. Sokolove accepted the position of Director of Social Rehabilitation Services at the Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center, in Boston, where he served his patients and the community for several years.
In 1991, Dr. Sokolove left the Fuller Center to join the Medicine, Neurology, and Psychiatry Departments at Boston Medical Center where he integrated the disciplines of medicine and psychology. Here he developed a specialization in multicultural psychology and in trauma treatment and instituted an annual conference on “The Care of the Complex Patient.” Also at BMC, Dr. Sokolove taught numerous medical residents and psychology trainees as well as consulting to and supporting his colleagues of all disciplines.
A specialist in treating individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dr. Sokolove traveled to Kuwait in 1991 after the first Persian Gulf War to treat Kuwaiti service members and civilians at the behest of the Kuwaiti government. He also worked with the Massachusetts State Police to help treat airline personnel at Boston’s Logan Airport in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th terror attacks in 2001.
In addition to his professional endeavors, Dr. Sokolove was a talented musician who worked his way through college by playing guitar and singing folk music. Throughout his life, he was deeply passionate about issues of social, racial, and economic justice, a supporter of the Democratic Party, and a diehard fan of both the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.
Dr. Sokolove was a cheerful, kind and gentle man of exceptional intellect, understanding, wit, and compassion - a calm and steady presence, and a true humanitarian. He was dearly loved and admired and will be profoundly missed by his wife Ann, his son David, his daughter Sara, and his Labrador retriever Tassy, as well as by his many other relatives, friends, colleagues, students, and patients.
Donations in his honor may be made to gofundme.com/dr-robert-sokolove-memorial-fund. The donations received will be funneled into the establishment of a foundation for the Department of General Internal Medicine at the Boston Medical Center.
A Celebration of Dr. Sokolove’s life will be held on Sunday December 16 at 2 PM at the First Unitarian Society in Newton 1326 Washington St. West Newton.