Dr. Barry Parish
I am a California Native, born in Modesto, and shortly thereafter moved to Santa Cruz. My high school years were spent in the San Jose – Los Gatos area. I graduated UC Berkeley in 1978 with a degree in bacteriology. I met Wendie Morin that same year at Berkeley and we have been together ever since. She is a huge reason that I have been successful in my practice and in my life.
I come from humble beginnings. My parents migrated here from Arkansas in the late 40’s. They worked as share croppers and farmers, but my mother Mattie became a licensed vocational nurse, so their employment revolved around hospitals once they came to California. My father was a hard-working man that only got to the 4th grade before his father took him out of school to work in the fields. He took adult education literacy courses to finally learn to read when I was a teenager.
Although he never fully understood the process, he was adamant that I pursue an education. It was not hard to follow his advice, understanding first hand his challenges of limited schooling.While an undergraduate, I took off a year and was a student intern at NIH at the National Dental Institute, with Joe Ciardi PhD. I was there for my love of bacteriology and I had no idea at that time I would later study dentistry.
I worked all through college as a grocery clerk, earning and borrowing to make my way. After graduation, I joined Cutter Laboratories in Emeryville as a staff bacteriologist. I was miserable, because I missed the social life of school and the public in my various grocery jobs. Laboratory work was solitary and confining. I began a search for graduate work that eventually led me to dentistry.
UCSF was a premier school at a critical time in the early 80’s. I was there when young men my age were getting sick and dying by the thousands from AIDS and no one knew what to do. Ignorant of the nature of the virus at that time, we saw AIDS patients for dental conditions dressed in full isolation gear at SF General Hospital. It was a great lesson in humility, compassion and responsibility. Although it was a small part of my experience, it is one of my most enduring memories of dental school.
Knowing the Bay Area was forever my home, I fanned my résumé throughout and Dr Jack Hoey offered me a small practice in 1986. I named it Benicia Family Dentistry. It was an apt name because I have been an integral part of taking care of generations. I have strived to make our practice the best model of a highly educated and integrated team that brings all we learn to help our family of patients with unflagging courtesy and respect.