Dr. George Phillip Tolbert, 42, associate director of the Bureau of Community Health Services of the U.S. Public Health Service, died Wednesday at Georgetown University Hospital. He had lymphosarcoma, a disease related to leukemia.

Dr. Tolbert recently received the Award for Exceptional Achievement from the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.

He had worked in the Bureau of Community Health Services since 1972. Earlier he had directed the office of program development at the Howard University College of Medicine, from which he earned his MD in 1969.

He had wide experience in public health. Dr. Tolbert had taken part in Howard University's Mississippi Project in the 1960s. In government, he had served as director of the National Health Service Corp., director of the division of health services finances, and director of the Sickle Cell Disease Office.

Dr. Tolbert was born in Chicago. He graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans. In addition to his MD degree, he held a master's degree in public health from the University of Michigan.

He was a member of the American Medical Association and the National Medical Association. In 1972, he visited the People's Republic of China with a delegation of NMA physicians.

Dr. Tobert had received awards from the Institute of Medicine, the Congress of Racial Equality and Howard University.

Survivors include his wife, the former Ora Hood, of the home in Reston, where Dr. Tolbert was a member of the Reston Black Focus; four daughters, Lori and Courtney, of the home, and Michelle and Renne, of Chicago; his mother, Pearline Tolbert, of Vienna; his father, Carl Tolbert, and a brother, Carl Jr., both of Chicago, and four sisters, Carlene Crumpton-Bawden, of Reston, Darlene Palmer, of Washington, Sharon Tolbert, of Jacksonville, Fla., and Phyllis Stewart, of Dover, Del.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the George P. Tolbert Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 2993, Reston, Va., 22090, for students interested in health careers at Dillard University and Howard University College of Medicine. CAPTION: Picture, DR. GEORGE P. TOLBERT