Exceptional. Devoted. Active. Compassionate. These are just a few of the words Dr. Bergman’s colleagues used to describe her when they nominated her for the prestigious A. Raymond Eveloff Award for Clinical Excellence in 2019.
The Eveloff Award is given each year to a deserving physician who has gone above and beyond to ensure the health and well-being of their patients and to strive for excellence in the delivery of health care. Winners have also demonstrated leadership in the community, the organization and their medical specialties.
Beth Bergman, MD, had a ‘community of caring’ mindset before she even entered medical school. As a biology major at the University of Illinois, she helped provide contraceptive education and assistance for rape victims at her college. And, while she had already been thinking about medical school because of previous volunteer experiences at a hospital, working at the health center on campus really cemented her desire to go into medicine.
Dr. Bergman completed her medical degree and plastic surgery residency at SIU School of Medicine and her general surgery residency at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Soon after, a passion for reconstructive breast surgery led her to pursue further fellowship training in microsurgery and burn care. As a breast reconstruction specialist, Dr. Bergman enjoys the close relationships she can build with her patients over several months or years. “Working with women with breast cancer has been the highlight of my career,” she says. “I love breast surgery of any kind and find breast reconstruction to be super rewarding.”
Dr. Bergman is also active in promoting breast cancer awareness and care within the Springfield community, as she has been an active participant at breast cancer prayer or informational meetings, breast cancer support groups and the Susan G. Komen More than Pink Walk (formerly known as the Race for the Cure). “A ‘community of caring’ means to me that we physicians, and individual partners especially, are involved in more than just patient care, but in philanthropy and volunteer work as well—that we all have our own little niche that we’re helpful in.”
Since joining Springfield Clinic in 1993, Dr. Bergman has been an involved leader in the organization in addition to being a leader in the community. She has served on eight committees related to quality management, operations, technology, surgery and insurance relations, some for several years. She has also been a member of the Board of the Directors for two terms.
Springfield Clinic has seen exponential growth in the last twenty-five years, and Dr. Bergman was at the forefront of two major projects: the construction of the Ambulatory Surgery & Endoscopy Center and the implementation of Springfield Clinic’s first electronic health record. At the time when the organization was considering the EHR, she traveled with the IT team across the U.S. to observe how other organizations were implementing and using their EHRs. Dr. Bergman remembers what it was like when couriers would run paper patient charts back and forth across town; but, she is grateful for and amazed by the EHR as it is now, where she can look up patients and see how they’re doing or check lab results while at home or out of town.
Dr. Bergman is hopeful that the future of Springfield Clinic means a continued focus on patients as well as staying ahead of the curve with technological advancements in health care. Her best advice for aspiring physicians is to know that the time and effort required to be a doctor is worth it. “You have to understand it’s not a ‘punch a time clock’ type of job,” she says. “You worry about your patients at night or on the weekend. But it’s a great profession, and it’s very rewarding.”