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Abbott Northwestern Hospital

A champion for breast care reflects on philanthropy

Carol Bergen

Carol Bergen, RN

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Can philanthropy make a difference in reshaping health care?

Carol Bergen, RN, clinical manager of the Piper Breast Center®, a program of the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute®, has seen it happen.

More than 20 years ago, the family of Virginia Piper expressed an interest in bringing breast care to a new level at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and supporting that vision through philanthropy.

Bergen was part of the early discussions that led to the opening of the Piper Breast Center in 1995 and has helped guide its operations ever since. As she prepares to retire in June, Bergen reflected on her role with the Piper Breast Center and the support it has received over the years through donations large and small.

“To this day, I look at it as the highlight of my career to have been there on the Piper Breast Center’s first day,” she said. Bergen is particularly proud of how the Piper Breast Center has listened carefully to the patients it served from the very beginning. “We’ve used that information to spearhead our operations, the experience we offer patients and key elements of our services.”

Bergen’s role also put her in contact with patients, family members and other individuals who were seeking ways to give back to the community or help others facing a difficult diagnosis. One option is making a gift to support the Piper Breast Center’s work. “It was a privilege to talk about their interests and concerns and give them ideas on what we could do with their support.

“I cannot imagine the Piper Breast Center being as accomplished and successful as it is without its donors. They enable so many things that are otherwise unreachable,” she said.