Who we are

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Christine Benvenuto, MFT

Christine has over 25 years experience working in mental health. She is the co-founder of the Oakland DBT and Mindfulness Center, which provides psychotherapy and skills training to people who experience difficult emotions. Cultivating rich relationships within her family and community, a lifelong meditation practice and love for spending time in wild and natural settings has led to a therapy practice focused on helping people skillfully connect with their unique wisdom, each other and the larger social and global communities we all exist within in a way that is of benefit to all beings.  Her particular interest in End of Life conversations began with her own experience, speaking with the people who mattered the most in her life about their wishes about how they wanted to die and what legacy they hoped to leave.  It is her hope that thorough bringing more attention to end of Life conversations, that people come to live more fully in every moment.

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David Pepper, MD

Dr Pepper is a volunteer consultant with the Center. He has worked, practiced and taught full spectrum Family Medicine for close to 30 years. From the ER to the hospital, from obstetrics to hospice, he has helped patients navigate staying healthy. Keeping a keen eye on Psychological health, he is ever aware that community connections and strong family ties help us navigate rough waters.

Increasingly, the struggles of aging and dealing with the dying process have interested him. He also disagrees with “fighting at all costs”, as it makes the patient a battleground. Now, teaming up with his wife, therapist Christine Benvenuto, he hopes to assist and connect people to a multitude of dying resources, and also ease them into living healthy - even as they prepare for death. David also co-authored an e-book on dying, “And one to grow on” about a family whose child gets leukemia. Both his mother and grandmother died in the family home.is

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JOHN LEE

Dr Lee is a volunteer consultant with the center. He is a family practitioner at the Contra Costa County Medical Center in Martinez. After completing UCSF medical school in 1968, (yep, 50 years ago!), he did a rotating internship at Highland Hospital in Oakland, and worked for Indian Health Service on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona for two years.  

After a year of travel, he finished his residency at the county hospital in Martinez and joined the leadership in training doctors there.  In addition to serving as their Hospice doctor during the 1980s, he also works in Dermatology.

Officially retired now, he continues to consult in dermatology clinics and teach three days a week.  He has joined our team with a wealth of personal and professional interest. In addition to Medicine, he enjoys political activism, history, travel, backpacking and music.

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Joshua Pepper

Josh is completing his fifth and final year in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. He is interested in death and dying, integrative medicine and primary care. During medical school, he directed the medical division of The Suitcase Clinic - a humanitarian organization providing free healthcare and social services. Currently, he is planning the curriculum for the Humanistic Elective in Activism, Reflective Transformation and Integrative Medicine (HEART-IM), a month-long elective for fourth year medical students sponsored by the American Medical Student Association. He hoped to apply into Family Medicine residencies where he looks forward to working with patients of all ages and states of health.