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 the 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 settings.”
To help ensure high standards, Berger serves on New York State’s Council on Graduate Medical Education.
She feels that the Great Lakes Health System of Western New York, which unites Kaleida Health, Erie County Medical Center, UB and members of the community, will strengthen residency programs.
“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 a critical mass of faculty and are able to make intelligent decisions about where residents will receive the best experience.”
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.