PPWNM Presents 2009 Founders' Award for Distinguished Service

Published: 06.16.09| Updated: 06.16.09

PETOSKEY, MICHIGAN — Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan’s (PPWNM) 2009 Founders’ Award for Distinguished Service was presented at the first-ever Petoskey Healthy Families Dinner on June 16 at Stafford’s Bay View Inn. This year’s recipient is Dr. Daniel VerBerg, Petoskey-area physician and former Planned Parenthood medical director in Petoskey for more than 25 years, until 2007. 

The Founders' Award recognizes volunteers who have made a significant impact on Planned Parenthood services in Petoskey. It is named for the founders of Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood — which incorporated in Petoskey in 1970 — Ann and Dave Irish, Delores Johnson, and Mary Lou and John Tanton. Mary Lou Tanton received the first-ever Founders’ Award in 2005. 

Dr. VerBerg became an advocate for women in 1971 — prior to Roe v. Wade — after caring for a young woman who had tried to self-induce an abortion, “We saved her life, but at 17 she was left without her ovaries and her uterus. I’m happy to say that was the last septic abortion I ever saw.” 

“Dan is a great mentor, advocate for advanced practice nurses, teacher, and friend,” said Shelley Paulsen, Petoskey Center manager. “His role as Planned Parenthood’s medical director positively influenced the lives of thousands of women and their families all over Northern Michigan for nearly three decades!” 

“It comes down to care of the patient,” said VerBerg. “As long as you keep that as the core of every decision you make, you can’t go wrong.” 

Treating the whole patient was an underlying theme throughout the evening. Approximately 200 guests listened intently to impassioned, stirring, and humorous examples of how volunteers, staff, community partners, and clients work together to create premier health care services for men and women in Northern Michigan. PPWNM Board Chair Sandy McClurg beamed, “Wasn’t this amazing for our first year?!”

The Healthy Families Dinner is one of four Healthy Families fundraising events being held in PPWNM service areas, and a first of its kind for Petoskey. Healthy Families Luncheons were held in Grand Rapids and Marquette earlier this year, with a similar event scheduled for September in Traverse City.


Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan provides reproductive health care and education services, while advocating for reproductive choice, with locations in seven Michigan cities. Learn more at

Find A Health Center