Since 1984, the McGovern Lecture Series has been made possible through the generosity of internationally-regarded pediatric allergist, Dr. John P. McGovern. Dr. McGovern’s friendship with our department’s founder, Dr. Warren Schaller, led to a continuing legacy of financial support to us over the years.
Past recipients of this honor have included:

  • Dr. C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General
  • Dr. Henry Heimlich, medical innovator
  • Mr. Robert Bazell, NBC science correspondent
  • Graham Kerr, television’s “Galloping Gourmet”


The speaker, whom a committee chooses each year, has had a great impact on the health field in some fashion. Past video lectures are available, as well as photos and biographies of each honoree.

2016 Honoree

Dr. Deborah Billings

The Department of Nutrition and Health Science was pleased to bring global reproductive justice expert Dr. Deborah Billings to campus, as the 2016 McGovern Lecture honoree.

Dr. Billings receiving the 2016 McGovern Award

Watch a Replay

Watch Dr. Billings' presentation as the 2016 McGovern Lecture honoree.

Deborah Billings, PhD, Director of Choose Well, located in Columbia, South Carolina.  Dr. Billings has dedicated her career to increasing people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. She has worked as a consultant to various global organizations including the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Oak Foundation, UN Women, and UNFPA. Following two decades of research and activism in Latin America and Africa to improve policies, health systems and services, Dr. Billings brings her unique skill set to an initiative to improve contraceptive access throughout South Carolina, supported by the New Morning Foundation.

The department hosted two events with Dr. Billings The first was a screening of the documentary she produced, called Las Libres: The Story Continues, a powerful story of Mexican women imprisoned for abortion and miscarriage for 25 to 30 years under the criminal charges of murdering a blood relative. Las Libres is the non-profit organization fighting for their freedom.

The John P. McGovern Lecture was held on night two of Dr. Billing’s visit. The record standing room only crowd packed into the ballroom for her lecture titled, “Reproductive Justice: Systemic Movement toward Genuine Contraceptive Access. Awareness is not enough.” If you missed this lecture, it is available to watch at the link below.

Dr. John Seffrin

Dr. Seffrin traveled to the beautiful Muncie, Indiana where he met with President Paul Ferguson.

McGovern Lecture recipient receiving award

Watch a Replay

Watch Dr. Seffrin' presentation as the 2015 McGovern Lecture honoree.

He also spoke to the Indiana Society of Professional Health Educators, about the evolving profession of health education and its role in the fight against cancer. Seffrin ended his day by delivering the McGovern Lecture at 7 p.m. in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Ballroom. The room was packed with around 300 students, faculty, staff, and community members all wondering how they can, End the Fight Against Cancer and Other NCDs.

Seffrin shared statistics on cancer survivorship, and that because of the collective work of the American Cancer Society’s effort into research and health education, about 500 lives are being saved from cancer each day. If that wasn’t an impressive number already, Seffrin said, “With more funding and more scientists and educators working together, it could be 1000 lives saved each day.”

Seffrin is a Ball State graduate, receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 1966. It was a chance meeting with Dr. William Bock that changed Seffrin's course of thinking and pushed him into health education. Bock was a few weeks shy of celebrating 50 years of teaching at Ball State when he passed away March 26th, 2014. Seffrin announced he was donating the entire amount of his honorarium to the Dr. William Bock Memorial Scholarship fund. The Physiology and Health Science department would like to thank Seffrin for his generous donation to help our students pursue health education.

If you were unable to attend the McGovern Lecture, but would like to learn more about Dr. Seffrin, or view the McGovern Lecture video detailing the efforts of the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer, follow the links below.