From the Vascular Community: In Memoriam – Dr. John J. Bergan


Vascular pioneer, Dr. John J. Bergan, died on June 11th, 2014.

Dr. Bergan’s illustrious career spanned more than 50 years. He completed his residency at Chicago Wesley Memorial Hospital in 1959 and began his medical career as a clinical assistant in surgery at Northwestern University Medical School. He rose through the ranks at Northwestern and served as the chief of the Division of Transplantation at Northwestern University Medical School from 1969 to 1976. When the Division of Vascular Surgery was formed in 1976, Dr. Bergan was appointed as the first division chief (1976-1988). Along with Dr. James Yao, Dr. Bergan established one of the earliest clinical vascular fellowship programs in 1976 at Northwestern. This fellowship program was the genesis for many future leaders of vascular surgery. In 1989, Dr. Bergan left Northwestern for southern California where he concentrated on developing clinical and basic research in venous disease.

Dr. Bergan was instrumental in founding and developing many new societies and publications, including Midwestern Vascular Surgical Society. He also participated in the development of many practice guidelines including a method for data retrieval using computer programming and guidelines for venous disease diagnosis and treatment. He served as president of numerous societies, including the Society for Vascular Surgery, the American Venous Forum, American Venous Forum Foundation, Midwestern Vascular Surgical Society, European-American Venous Symposium, Gulf Coast Vascular Society, Chicago Surgical Society, Lymphedema Association of North America, and Southern California Vascular Surgical Society.

In his career, he authored and co-authored more than 750 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, scientific reports, editorials, and book chapters, as well as editing over 35 books. He was invited to speak to professional audiences all over the world and received numerous national and international honors and awards, including the Rovsing Silver Medal from the Danish Surgical Society, Honorary Fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Endovascular Surgery.

Dr. Bergan was a world renowned leader and contributor to the field of Vascular Surgery. He was a prolific scholar, tireless investigator, eloquent speaker, and dedicated educator. When asked what was the most rewarding experience in his long, successful career, Dr. Bergan responded “to teach”. We are truly grateful for all that he has contributed and he will be sorely missed.

The Memorial and Celebration of Dr. Bergan’s life will be held on July 7, 2014, 4:00pm, at the Chicago Yacht Club – Belmont at the Lake (not the Monroe Street clubhouse). If you are able to attend, please send a note to [email protected] so that plans can be made accordingly since space may be limited.

In lieu of flowers, Dr. Bergan’s family has asked that you please make a contribution to the:

John J. Bergan, MD Lectureship

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Address: 420 E. Superior Street

Rubloff Building, 9th Floor

Chicago, Illinois 60611

If you would like to leave a message for Dr. Bergan’s family or share a remembrance of him, you may do so at

Dr. Eskandari is The James S.T. Yao, MD, PhD Professor of Education in Vascular Surgery, chief and program director, Division of Vascular Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago.


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