New Clinician-Researcher Joins Wake Forest Baptist to Focus on Women’s Health Services

September 26, 2011

A renowned clinician and researcher in the area of women’s health is joining Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in a dual role.

Sarah L. Berga, M.D., the James Robert McCord Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics and professor of psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine, has been named professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Wake Forest School of Medicine and vice president for Women’s Health Services, a newly created position, for Wake Forest Baptist Health.

The appointment is effective Nov. 1 and was announced by John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist.

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Berga join us. She is widely regarded as one of the country’s leaders in women’s health. Her contributions in patient care, research and education demonstrate the type of ‘balanced excellence’ we are achieving in all our programs,” said McConnell. “Wake Forest Baptist has a rich tradition in women’s health and Dr. Berga brings renewed energy and a strategic vision that will allow us to make even more impactful contributions in this vital area.”

Berga, who is an internationally recognized expert in reproductive endocrinology, will be responsible for developing a comprehensive women’s health center that will integrate and enhance existing patient care, research, education and community health.

As the chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Berga will serve as the academic, administrative and clinical leader, responsible for research activities, faculty recruitment and development, as well as strategic growth of quality clinical services. In addition to her departmental responsibilities, she will serve as an associate dean in the School of Medicine to lead efforts in research and education.

In her career, Berga has participated in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Research Resources since 1994. She has been continuously funded by NIH since 1986 as a translational clinician-scientist to investigate areas critical to reproductive and women’s health, including the impact of stress and sex hormones upon brain plasticity and aging using state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques in human and animal models. Her team pioneered the use of cognitive behavior therapy for stress-induced infertility. She has published widely and has more than 190 peer-reviewed publications. 

As an Echols Scholar and graduate of the University of Virginia, she received her medical degree from UVA School of Medicine. She then completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School followed by a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine. 

From 2003 to 2010, she served as chair of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine. In that role, she focused on process improvements to enhance patient care, teaching safety, quality and compliance. Since 2003, she has been a professor of gynecology and obstetrics and a professor of psychiatry at Emory.

Prior to Emory, she was a tenured professor of obstetrics, gynecology, reproductive science and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and senior scientist at Magee-Women’s Research Institute. To spur translational and clinical research in reproductive and women’s health, she founded and then directed the Magee-Women’s Clinical Research Center in Pittsburgh from 1990 to 2003.

She is president elect of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation and has served on the Board of Directors of Emory Healthcare, University of Pittsburgh Physicians, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the International Society of Gynecologic Endocrinology among others. She was president of the Society of Humanism in Medicine for 2000-2001.

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Bonnie Davis:, 336-713-1597