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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Nursing Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award

NURS '76

Lake Forest, Ill.

For Pat Bertsche, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

As manager of Global Occupational Health Services at Abbott Laboratories, Pat is an extremely strong advocate of preventing and treating work-related illness and injury and promoting employee health. At Abbott, she helped develop a global influenza pandemic preparedness plan and assisted with its 2009 implementation. She also has taken her passion for prevention out of the lab and traveled to Tanzania to implement an infection control program as part of the Abbott Fund’s philanthropic activities.

After earning her bachelor of science in nursing from Marquette, Pat was a Navy nurse and received her master’s from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. She also was an occupational health nurse at OSHA, where she created the Office of Occupational Health Nursing and established a nursing graduate internship program. She helped develop the Ergonomic Program Management Guidelines for Meatpacking Plants — adopted by almost every industry in the country — and was instrumental in establishing the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.

Pat was administrative head of the ergonomic group in Ohio State’s College of Engineering, where she helped establish the Institute for Ergonomics. In February, she successfully defended her dissertation and will graduate in May from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a doctor of philosophy in public health sciences.

Fun fact: Pat’s formula for success? Perseverance, persistence and hard work.