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Spotlight on...

photo of Sallyann BerghSallyann Bergh

Washington, D.C.–based Alumna Promotes Medical Research

Sallyann Bergh (MPA ’07) serves as Senior Communications Specialist for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in Washington, D.C.  For the past two years, she has been managing a program called Project Medical Education (PME), which equips participants to better understand the medical-education process, patient care, community service, and research.  In addition to creating/updating program materials and attending the programs, she conducts planning workshops for new program hosts.

Since January, Bergh has also served as the campaign coordinator for ResearchMeansHope.org, of which AAMC is a founding partner. This advocacy campaign is a pilot program that seeks to educate the public about the importance of medical research and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and, in addition, to cultivate long-term congressional champions for NIH. "By educating the public we hope to engage them to write members of Congress to support sustained, annual increases in NIH funding for medical research,” Bergh says.

One of a growing contingent of IPA grads who work in the Washington, D.C., area, Bergh shares a bit of her enthusiasm about her work and her aspirations.

“The AAMC represents medical schools, teaching hospitals, academic and professional societies, faculty, residents, and students across the country.  It is a very diverse place to work, and I’ve had a lot of opportunities for growth and learning while working here.  The work that I do is helping medical schools and teaching hospitals operate more smoothly through the use of best practices and tools.  I leave at the end of the day feeling that my work is all for a good cause.  That’s a good thing to be able to remind yourself, especially when so many people are struggling just to make ends meet.

“I look forward to building on my current skills and continuing in the health policy/public affairs arena as a manager/director of a department.  I love working in D.C., as there is always so much to learn, and envision myself growing with the AAMC or a similar type of organization.”

Bergh was well prepared for this type of policy work.  Her MPA concentration was Health Policy and Management, a good fit for what she does now. While at IPA, she worked for its Conflict Resolution Program and served the Delaware General Assembly for six months as a Legislative Fellow.  She claims that learning how to multi-task and collaborate effectively with others were the most important things she learned along the way.  During her undergraduate days, Bergh worked at Duke University’s development office, in the area of donor relations.

“Ultimately,” Bergh says, “the UD experience provided the perfect blend of classroom and real-world experience.  The health policy–related courses in the MPA program helped to provide a good base for better understanding a number of the issues that AAMC members face.  Furthermore, the Legislative Fellows Program was an exceptional opportunity that provided me with a greater appreciation for the legislative process and the continuous need to educate policymakers,” something she says is critical to the AAMC.

“We are the voice for academic medicine, representing our members’ interests on Capitol Hill and sharing ideas with other organizations, all for the betterment of advancing the public good.”

Bergh has many interests outside of her policy work and leads a very active life.  She enjoys travel, volunteers once a week at Inova Alexandria Hospital, plays on a soccer team with colleagues from AAMC, and is training to run the Philadelphia Marathon in the fall.

photo courtesy of Sallyann Bergh