Barbara Ann Murphy, 62, a retired U.S. Public Health administrator and a longtime resident of Washington, died of cancer Saturday at the Veterans Administration Hospital here.

Miss Murphy came to Washington in 1953 and joined the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center as program supervisor in the cancer social work section. She later served as program supervisor of the center's heart social work section.

In 1966, she was appointed assistant chief of the Social Work Department, and in 1972 was named department head. She retired in 1980 for reasons of health.

Miss Murphy received the United States Public Health Service's Commendation Medal in 1976. She also received a 1981 certificate of appreciation and an outstanding unit citation from the health service's outpatient clinic.

Miss Murphy was a native of Cleveland. A graduate of St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., she earned a master's degree in applied social sciences from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In the early 1940s, she was a case worker at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., and from 1945 until 1953, she was case worker supervisor at New York Hospital in New York City.

She was a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Society for Hospital Social Work Directors and the American Public Health Association.

She leaves no immediate survivors.