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Dr. Nora Bergasa, Metropolitan’s Chief of Medicine, Awarded Mastership in the American College of Physicians

Dr. Nora Bergasa, Chief of the Department of Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan

Dr. Nora V. Bergasa, Chief of the Department of Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, has been awarded Mastership in the American College of Physicians (ACP), the national organization of internists.

Dr. Bergasa received this prestigious honor for a body of work that includes the practice of Internal Medicine and her academic contributions, including her research on the pruritus of cholestasis, a complication of liver disease. Her work has been internationally recognized and her “h-index”—which measures the productivity and the impact of a scientist’s research—is an impressive 30.

“I am humbled and grateful to have been elected,” Dr. Bergasa said. “It’s a great honor to be considered by this group. I believe in medicine and I believe in the essence of doing research and teaching. It’s very dear to me.”

According to ACP bylaws, Masters are selected “on account of personal character, positions of honor, contributions toward furthering the purposes of the ACP, eminence in practice or in medical research, or other attainments in science or in the art of medicine.” Also taken into consideration are ACP activities as well as volunteer and community service.

Candidates must first be elected Fellows of the College; Dr. Bergasa has been a Fellow since 1994. Fellows are proposed to Mastership by Masters of the College and subsequently, the College’s Board of Regents elects eligible Fellows to Mastership. Dr. Bergasa will be presented with her Mastership on March 30, 2017, at a convocation ceremony during ACP’s Internal Medicine Meeting in San Diego, California.

Dr. Bergasa was born in Cuba and graduated from the medical school of the Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican Republic, completing her Internal Medicine Residency and Gastroenterology Fellowship at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn. She then trained as a Fellow in liver disease at the National Institutes of Health. She has held faculty positions at Rockefeller University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Columbia University and SUNY Downstate prior to being named Chief of Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan in 2008 and Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College.

Dr. Bergasa’s major research work has been in the complication of liver disease known as pruritus of cholestatis. Her work has contributed to the identification of the endogenous opioid system in the pathophysiology of this disease, providing a rationale for the use of opiate antagonists for treatment of this type of pruritus. Dr. Bergasa has been published in more than 100 publications, including original papers in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and invited reviews.

One of her major accomplishments as the Chief of Medicine at Metropolitan, in collaboration with the Division of Gastroenterology, was the successful establishment in 2014 of a Gastroenterology Fellowship Program combined with Woodhull Medical Center and sponsored by New York Medical College.

Dr. Bergasa has received many awards over the years, including the Mark H. Levin Oncology Service Award for her support of Metropolitan’s oncology service, and Metropolitan’s Doctor of the Year award in 2011, given by NYC Health + Hospitals in recognition of her expertise and dedication to providing high quality healthcare.

“To be elected to Mastership is very special because I believe in the Hippocratic Oath,” Dr. Bergasa said. “A Master encompasses the faithfulness to that oath and it underlines academic achievement. It’s very personal thing.”