Bridgers earned his M.D. with special training in preventive medicine and public health from Washington University in St Louis.
Bridgers was recruited to UAB from the University of Miami in 1968 to start an interdisciplinary neuroscience program. Eight years later he took over the Department of Public Health, which was accredited as the 20th School of Public Health in the United States in 1979. He became the dean in 1981 and served for eight years. For four of them (1982-1986) he was also president of the US Association of Schools of Public Health, helping lobby congress for a nationwide network of prevention research centers.
For UAB, Bridgers guided the establishment of the John Sparkman Center for International Public Health Education and the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, which he served as director after stepping down as Dean of the school. He retired from UAB in 1992. In 1999 the Board of Trustees esablished the Bill and Judy Bridgers Endowed Scholarship in Public Health. He was named the honorary alumnus of the year by UAB's national alumni association in 2005.
Bridgers' 1992 book Health Care Reform: The Dilemma and a Pathway for the Health Care System. is a widely cited review of health care policy. He also headed the Eutaw Group, an organization seeking to improve access to health care from under-served communities. He is credited with giving Senator Tom Harkin the idea to add "and Prevention" to the name of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emblematic of his long-standing push for disease prevention research and programs as national policy.
Bridgers was survived by his wife, Judy, and four children: Jeff, David, Daniel and Jana.
|Dean, UAB School of Public Health
1981 - 1989
Juan Navia (acting)
- Bridgers, William F. (November 1992) Health Care Reform: The Dilemma and a Pathway for the Health Care System. St Louis, Missouri: G. W. Medical Publishers ISBN 1878060074
- Parks, Dave (August 26, 2006) "Public health pioneer Dr. Bridgers dies at 74." The Birmingham News
- UAB Health System. (October 2, 2006) "School of Public Health Founding Dean Leaves a Rich Legacy." UAB Synopsis. Vol. 25, No. 23