The National Association of Community Health Centers recognized Dr. Bery Engebretsen with the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual conference in February. Dr. Engebretsen is a community health pioneer in Iowa, establishing Primary Health Care in April 1981. Anyone who has worked with, for, or alongside him can attest to his unwavering compassion, light hearted sense of humor, pragmatism and vision.

What started as one clinic has grown into an organization that serves over 40,000 central Iowans each year. Services reflect the unique needs in the communities we serve. Dr. Engebretsen has always been on the leading edge of innovation and was an early adopter of implementing integrated behavioral health care within the PHC medical care model. PHC was also the first primary care organization in Iowa (across all healthcare settings) to offer Medication Assisted Treatment for substance use disorder. These are only a couple of the many successful, community focused goals PHC achieved under his leadership.

In recent years, he has focused much of his attention on wellness. In addition to seeing patients for wellness visits, he’s led the charge in the development of a Therapeutic Wellness Garden. The garden is located at PHC’s East Side Clinic. A greenspace nestled between the clinic and the Vietnamese church next door, there are raised beds for planting, a walking path, plants native to Iowa, a pergola and park benches. Produce grown in the garden is available for patients, folks in nearby neighborhoods, and PHC staff.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Engebretsen on this prestigious award. If you would like to send him well wishes, you can send cards to:

Attn: Dr. Engebretsen
1200 University Ave. #200
Des Moines, IA 50314

**If you’re interested in volunteering at the garden (there is always spring cleanup, weeding and maintenance), please contact Marissa Conrad.

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