Chair, The Chicago School Board of Trustees
Optum®/UnitedHealth Group Inc.
R. Edward Bergmark, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in the State of Minnesota and a member of the Minnesota Psychological Association. He holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. in psychology from the University of St. Thomas.
In 1990, Dr. Bergmark founded Optum®. From his practice as a psychologist and his experience in employee assistance services, he was aware that many individuals in need of assistance do not know where to turn. Unsure of next steps, problems can fester and increase in severity. Faced with what are often complex issues, people are too frequently perplexed and frustrated by the possible choices of professionals offering help. This challenge is only magnified by the high level of specialization across and within professions. In order to meet this need, Dr. Bergmark established an immediate response capability, staffed 24/7 by master's-level counselors and registered nurses who were able to begin working with individuals at the moment they called. Because human problems are rarely one-dimensional, financial counselors and attorneys were also available for consultation as well as direct work with clients. In most cases multiple contacts, sometimes over very extended periods of time, were necessary to assure that workable and effective problem resolution strategies were in place.
Over a period of 14 years, Dr. Bergmark grew Optum® from one person with an idea to an organization covering over 24 million people. Today, Optum® continues to grow as a part of UnitedHealth Group.