Release Date: June 1, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sarah L. Berga, MD, has been appointed as the new chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. She will also serve as president of UBMD Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical director of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal Fetal Medicine Program Development for Kaleida Health.
Berga begins today. Her appointments were announced earlier this year by Michael E. Cain, MD, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School.
“Dr. Berga rapidly emerged as our top candidate possessing the administrative, scientific, clinical, leadership and visionary skills needed to move the department forward, expand the department’s basic and clinical research programs to fulfill the Jacobs School’s strategic goals, enhance the excellence of the department’s graduate medical education and mentored research training programs, and develop and align a comprehensive clinical program at Kaleida Health and our community,” Cain said.
Berga will succeed Vanessa Barnabei, MD, PhD, who has served as chair since 2012.
Barnabei has accepted a new position at the Jacobs School as associate dean for faculty advancement and development. In this new role, she will work with department chairs and chiefs, senior leaders in the offices of Faculty Affairs, the Medical Education and Education Research Institute, Diversity and Inclusion, Graduate Medical Education, Research Integration, and others both within the school and beyond to promote opportunities for faculty scholarly activity, academic promotion, retention and wellness. She will continue in her clinical capacity, seeing patients at UBMD Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Berga comes to UB from the University of Utah School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where she has served as professor and director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility for two years.
“(Berga) is an accomplished clinician, physician-investigator and educator,” Cain said.
In addition, she is a Diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
“I am totally thrilled to be joining the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Kaleida Health and UBMD Obstetrics & Gynecology,” Berga said. “I was excited to be asked to look at the position; it is an amazing opportunity to build on what has been achieved to date at UB in the Jacobs School and in obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health in particular. The new Oishei hospital is magnificent and the partnership with UB presents an unparalleled synergistic opportunity to expand programs, to conduct translational and clinical research, and to educate the next generation of women’s health physicians and providers of all types.”
Caring for patients through UBMD Obstetrics & Gynecology and Kaleida Health, Berga specializes in reproductive hormones, infertility and stress-induced hypothalamic hypogonadism (amenorrhea). Her clinical interests include in vitro fertilization (IVF), which she will be introducing to the UBMD practice, as well as perimenopause, hormone therapies and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Her research interests include determining the neuroendocrine mechanisms mediating stress-induced reproductive compromise and the impact of sex hormones on brain health in human and monkey models using neuroimaging and delineation of hormonal and cognitive patterns. Her research endeavors have been consistently funded by the National Institutes of Health, research foundations and industry.
“I've always been interested in how mindset – attitudes — and behaviors influence hormones and reproductive hormones in particular,” Berga said. Her current research collaborations include understanding how stress and hormones influence brain and heart health in women.
Berga has authored or co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles and written over 85 book chapters. In 2020, she was awarded the DeCherney Society Lifetime Distinguished Service Award by the Society for Reproductive Investigation. She currently serves as an associate editor for Human Reproduction Update. She has served on many NIH grant review committees.
Berga received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School, followed by a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
She served as assistant professor, associate professor and professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She has also served as the James Robert McCord Professor and Chair in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Emory University School of Medicine.