Berg—Cynthia Jean Berg, 73, on March 6, 2022, peacefully, following a brief battle with cancer at Emory University Hospital Hospice Center in Atlanta, Ga. Cindy was born on July 7, 1948, to Walter Henry Martin Berg and M. Garnette (Palmer) Berg in Chicago, Ill. The family of four made their home in Brookfield and Western Springs in the suburbs of Chicago. Cindy battled polio as a child, persevering with family support.
In 1970, Cindy graduated with a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where she was a National Merit Scholar. She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1974. Cindy found her professional calling—making the world a better place for expecting mothers—while interning at maternity wards in Philadelphia hospitals.
From 1976 to 1980, Cindy was a resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University Hospital in California, serving as chief resident in her final year. Cindy was in private practice in Minnesota from 1981 to 1982, and an adjunct instructor at the Medical College of the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She studied epidemiology and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Washington School of Public Health, where she earned her master’s degree in public health. Cindy began her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1985 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer and continued as a medical epidemiologist in the division of reproductive health until her retirement in August 2013.
The “godmother” of maternal mortality research, Cindy was an internationally recognized expert in pregnancy health. Her research resulted in more than 90 published papers and technical reports. She delighted in working collaboratively with colleagues, taking great pleasure in training physicians, nurses, and other health professionals in the EIS training program. Her service through the World Health Organization took her to Africa, South and Central America, and Southeast Asia.
Cindy’s spiritual life revolved around Atlanta (Ga.) Meeting for many years. She assisted in publishing The Friendly Woman magazine in the mid-1980s, as well as contributing to committee work.
Cindy was a founding committee member of the Friends School of Atlanta (FSA), which opened in 1991. The school’s first mission statement was written at her home over Earl Grey tea. Her commitment to a culture where children know that they are regarded with great respect was reflected in an early FSA slogan: “where every child is always honored.” Her fierce dedication to diversity and inclusion contributed to the school’s thriving and its commitment to Quaker pedagogy to the present day.
Cindy was tenacious and intrepid, always thoughtful and kind to her friends. She was a lover of life and all it brings, including being a voracious reader. She loved traveling, her many pets, fine art, music, flowers and gardening, bird watching, her family, and Jeopardy!, which was her life’s addiction. She and her family spent many summers in Northern Minnesota, where her parents retired on Fish Hook Lake near Park Rapids.
Cindy’s vision and pioneering work with FSA and steadfast commitment to women’s health are among her enduring legacies for moving this world toward beloved community.
Cindy was preceded in death by her parents, Wally and Garie Berg; and a sister, Laurel A. B. Muff. She is survived by one child, William H. Berg-Graves; her former husband, Richard C. Graves; four nephews; and six cousins.