As a child, Dr. Louise Elizabeth Goggans frequently accompanied her mother to her job at a doctor’s office in Anderson, Indiana. There, she would spend her time in the doctor’s library, reading books and becoming increasingly fascinated with the human body and the medical field. She began her career as a sophomore in high school, working as a dietary aide in the dietary department of a local hospital. One day, while delivering a tray of food to an elderly patient, she found the patient on the floor and rushed to get the nurses. This experience caused her to evaluate what she wanted out of a career in health care and ultimately led her down the path to becoming a dietician, rather than doing physical medicine.
Embarking on her post-secondary education at Indiana University, Dr. Goggans earned an associate degree in 1956 and joined the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois, as a staff dietician the following year. Later in 1957, she became the chief dietitian at Highland Park Hospital, where she remained until 1961. She returned to Indiana that same year and became the head therapeutic dietician at the Marion County General Hospital. From 1963 to 1968, Dr. Goggans served as the assistant chief dietician for Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital before joining the Visiting Nurse Association as a nutritionist and administrative assistant.
This period also saw Dr. Goggans return to Indiana University, where she completed a master’s degree in education in 1969. She concluded her studies at Indiana University in 1982 with a Doctor of Medical Science while working as the director of nutrition services at the Regenstrief Institute and Wishard Memorial Hospital between 1973 and 1995. She also taught at Wishard Memorial Hospital as an assistant professor from 1995 to 2002 and helped to establish their diet clinic. Dr. Goggans retired from the medical field after serving as an assistant professor at Indiana University-Purdue University, though she continues to participate in the annual Diabetes Conference sponsored by the Indiana Minority Health Coalition.
Alongside her primary responsibility, Dr. Goggans spent 20 years as a certified marriage and family counselor and freelance wedding consultant and coordinator. She also contributed her expertise to a variety of community and professional organizations, including the Central Indiana Council on Aging, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Association of Christian Counselors, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and more. Dr. Goggans has spent time on the boards of directors for the Children’s Bureau, Auntie Mame’s Child Development Center, Alpha Home, Meals on Wheels, and as the director of the Indiana affiliate chapter of the American Diabetes Association, among other contributions.
Dr. Goggans attributes much of her success to the early inspiration she received from her grandmother, who taught her about the health properties of various roots, herbs, flowers and other plants. For her excellence, she was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Service Award by Indiana University Bloomington in 2021, an award she has also received from Indiana University-Purdue University. Earlier honors and accolades to her name include the Drum Major Award from the Indiana Christian Leadership Council in 1981, the Lute Troutt fellowship from the Indiana Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics in 1980 and the Indiana Distinguished Citizen Award from the Indianapolis Bicentennial Committee in 1976.
Above these recognitions, Dr. Goggans considers the highlight of her career to be her time working with the Central Indiana Council on Aging. Noting that older people who lived alone were highly vulnerable to malnutrition, she was appointed to the steering committee to develop a solution to the problem, which led to the establishment of Meals on Wheels in Indianapolis and eventually spread to the rest of the state. Dr. Goggans is also proud that she was able to have a successful career while raising a family, which today includes her husband, Otis Goggans Jr.; her children, Gregory Tyler and Victoria; her grandchildren, Daniel, Malcolm and Harley; and her goddaughter, Brenda.