Roseanne Berger grew up in a household that also served as the practice for her father, a general practitioner in Yonkers, N.Y.
Inspired by his example, she became a family physician and continues his legacy of community care—albeit on a different scale.
As senior associate dean for graduate medical education, Berger presides over nearly 800 residents training in 63 programs sponsored by UB in hospitals throughout the community.
Berger trained in family medicine at UB in the late 1970s, where she met her husband, Daniel Morelli, MD, now chair of UB's Department of Family Medicine. After a brief stay in San Diego, they joined UB’s faculty, working in a community-based, model family medicine program.
Berger moved to UB's medical school in 1992 to help coordinate a course in community-oriented primary care involving internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine. Based on her success, she was asked to head the graduate medical education office.
“When I first started, the training was primarily
hospital-based. Now, hospitals are very different places than they
were 15 or 20 years ago,” she says. “More training
occurs in ambulatory settings, and professionalism, communication
and health care system issues, such as patient safety, are
explicitly taught. The challenge for us is to be sure that the
quality and education is maintained across all those
To help ensure high standards, Berger serves on New York
State’s Council on Graduate Medical Education.
“I think it’s creating a wonderful opportunity because most of our residents are rotating through multiple hospitals,” she says.
“By creating a strong academic medical center, we’ll
have a critical mass of faculty and be able to make intelligent
decisions about where residents will receive the best
A passion of Berger’s has been coordinating UB’s
Mini-Medical School, a series of lectures
and programs on health care and medical research that attracts
audiences in the hundreds, ranging from high school students to
senior citizens. Berger gauges interest in topics and invites UB
faculty to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for their subjects
in a straightforward, often lighthearted manner.
“It’s a chance for UB to reach out to the community
and share some of its expertise with the public. People are very
interested in health care and medical research. They’re
laughing, responding, asking good questions. The evening is
education, but it’s also entertainment. The audience and
faculty walk away feeling energized.”
In addition to this wide spectrum of outreach, Berger maintains
a primary care family medicine practice. “It’s limited,
but my patients tolerate it because I’ve known them for a
long time,” she remarks—not unlike the longtime care
dispensed by her father a few generations ago.