The annual Berggren Lecture Series is dedicated to Drs. Warren and Gretchen Berggren, long time advocates of public health and primary care approaches to address poverty and infant mortality. The Berggrens both graduated from UNMC in the late 1950s and followed their medical education with advanced degrees in Public Health from Harvard. They spent much of their careers providing medical care for the homeless in Omaha, serving as medical missionaries in the Belgian Congo (later Zaire), and developing voluntary community health worker networks to address health globally in low-income countries. Documented outcomes of their work included improve access to food, quality dietary intake, and decreases in stunted growth patterns common in low-income countries as well as developing strong health care and community partnerships that eradicated tetanus in a region in Haiti where 1 in 3 children were affected, historically, by tetanus.
The purpose of The Berggren Lecture Series is to honor the legacy of Drs. Gretchen and Warren Berggren by highlighting current partnerships between public health professionals and clinical and community organizations that (1) address the most pressing public health issues of our time, (2) study methods to move evidence for health promotion, disease prevention, and public health into typical community settings, and (3) move science forward while documenting community improvements in health and well-being.