Dr. David Kantorowitz

Presenter details:

  • Date:

     February 18, 2016

  • Position:

     Medical Doctor Ph.D.

  • Industry:

     Medical Doctor


I was born in December 1949 and lived my first 17 years in Brooklyn NYC.  My father was an accountant and my mother was a seamstress. We were not wealthy. My sister and I shared the one bedroom of our small flat while my parents slept on a foldout couch in the living room area.

When around 9, my father must have been doing better for we moved to a nicer area where I attended public junior high school and then public James Madison High School in Flatbush area of Brooklyn. Little did I then know, that that was the high school that Bernie Sanders, now a serious candidate for president in the states attended.

I did well in high school and chose to attend State U. of NY at Buffalo in college. I went there as the state schools were cheap and we did not have a lot of money, and a number of my friends went there. I was also ready to leave home and Buffalo is as far as it is possible to get from New York City.

I attended college during 1963-1967 years, which was the height of the Vietnam protest era. It was an exciting time to attend college, and the school was regularly shut down by protests of student groups.

I was a hard worker in college, always for some insane reason propelled by a vision of failure, rather than a surge toward excellence and achievement of vision.  I chose Psychology as a major, I think, as I did not think I was smart enough to compete with the natural science majors, while I thought I could succeed in this field. It was also a sign of the times that everyone was spending a great deal of time exploring their respective navels.  I graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa partly due to being bright, but a lot due to being very organized and studying harder than anyone else in my social circle.  I have advice to give regarding how to structure your college years if you want to succeed in the conventional sense.

I attended Rutgers University graduate school in Clinical Psychology and 5 years later finished my Ph.D. in this field. 

I then got a job teaching Clinical Psychology at California State University, San Bernardino.  I did this for 4 years, during which I learned that I much enjoyed teaching and doing research as well, to some degree in doing psychotherapy, but ultimately felt not fulfilled.  I did a great deal of research and published heavily, but did not feel my publications were replicable. Intellectually I lost respect for my profession even as I was doing well in it.  This is not a great position to be in.

I was then dating a woman, whose brother had just gotten into medical school. I was very envious of him, and ultimately felt upon honest reflection that I was wasting my life, succeeding in what I was doing but not groping towards what I was capable of. At 29 I decided to start all over again.

I spent the next year taking prerequisite college courses to apply to medical school and study for the MCAT admission text.  I did well on the exam and was ultimately admitted to U. of California San Francisco medical school.

I spent 4 wonderful years in San Francisco studying medicine. When finished I decided to go into a profession that I knew next to nothing about i.e. Radiation Oncology.  I chose it for its seeming admixture of science, technology exploitation and ability to practice what I had learned in my years in

counseling to deal with the emotional angst of people going thru very serious, potentially lethal cancer illnesses.

Somehow I thus fell into the right profession for my personality…fairly by chance.

I finished residency training at U. Rochester NY and then taught in my field at U. Colorado for two years, before settling into private practice in Radiation Oncology medicine in Sedro Woolley and then Mt. Vernon WA.

I have enjoyed taking care of patients and pursuing new information in my field via research.  My favorite activity is teaching and this is helpful in that much of my day is instruction and guiding folks with cancer thru the myriad caverns of treatment decisions. To be a good doctor you gotta have the ability to talk in common English, translating complicated situations into understandable dialog fitting to the educational level of the diverse groups of people you deal with daily.

I married a wonderful woman who does taxes for a living, had two kids, one of whom Jake Kantorowitz was a lifer at Brentwood and graduated 4 years ago. He would agree I think that he had a wonderful education at your school, was admitted and prospered at tough McGill University and just this past week was admitted to U. Pittsburgh medical school. He owes much of his academic success to ability to organize his studies and work hard….skills he learned during his years at Brentwood.

I have advice to offer upon reflection of the twists and turns of my professional life in two different professions, which if you would like to hear I would be pleased to share.



I expect that my talk would be focused upon my biography and the lessons I have learned related to choice of career and how to pursue success in your chosen field.

I would talk about:

  • Choosing the correct college
  • If you want to succeed in your academics how to organize your life to do so.
  • The importance of hard work in reaching your goals and increasing your options
  • What should be your motivations in terms of choosing your life’s work
  • What if you don’t hear that calling from God and yet gotta chose a profession?
  • Once you pick a profession, try to do your professional training near where you want to live. Which medical school you attend is of minor importance; where you you do your residency training is very important.
  • The reality that sometimes you chose unwisely, or you change and your initial choice is no longer fulfilling as you age
  • To have the courage to then start over again and how to do so; its never to late
  • How to find the balance between professional success as well as having a family and social life