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Academy of Research Mentors

Abby BerensonAbbey B. Berenson, MD, PhD

Professor, Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics
Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health
The Ruth Hartgraves MD Chair in Obstetrics & Gynecology

Dr. Berenson is a senior clinical researcher, gynecologist, and mentor, with an international reputation for studies of health issues among reproductive-aged women. In 2002 UTMB selected her as the first female director of a research center, and as such, she is the founding Director of the UTMB Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health (CIRWH). She developed CIRWH’s infrastructure to promote involvement and success of junior faculty from a number of departments. During the past 25 years, Dr. Berenson has dedicated substantial effort to train the next generation of researchers, mentoring 21 postdoctoral fellows and 17 assistant professors from a broad array of disciplines related to healthcare of women. She has worked with early career investigators from obstetrics and gynecology, rehabilitation sciences, preventive medicine, family medicine, surgery, oncology, psychology, psychiatry, nutritional sciences, and epidemiology. Mentees include 11 MDs and 30 PhDs, the majority of whom have remained in academic research and have obtained funding as principal investigators on their own external awards.

Dr. Berenson has maintained extramural federal and state grant support since 1994. Her studies include approaches supported by multidisciplinary teams and have resulted in over 230 peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals. Areas of research include: Comparative effectiveness studies among diverse populations of young women including: 1) contraception practices, methods, and effects (clinical); 2) interventions directed at cervical cancer prevention (clinical); and 3) epidemiologic studies on prevalence and correlates of infection with human papillomavirus. Sponsors include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Defense (DoD), several private foundations, and the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).  NIH recognized her successful mentoring history by awarding her support from a K24 for the 10-year maximum. The K24 mechanism provided protected time to devote to mentoring activities.

In addition, Dr. Berenson has served on the national level as a board examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has also served on numerous committees for American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the board of directors for the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, and was the first female president of the Central Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists. In addition, she was a panel member for the CDC’s US Guidelines for Contraceptive Management and has been a member of several Scientific Review Groups for the National Institutes of Health.