News Releases

News Releases

For Immediate Release

Child Abuse Expert at Children's Named to "40 Under 40" List Honoring Young Professionals in Region

Rachel Berger, MD, MPH, developing nation's first test to help screen for shaken baby syndrome

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC pediatrician and child abuse researcher Rachel Pardes Berger, MD, MPH, has been named one of Pittsburgh's "40 Under 40" awardees by PITTSBURGH magazine and Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP).

Dr. Berger is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a pediatrician in the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at Children's. Her clinical research involves the development of the nation's first blood test to help physicians screen infants who may be victims of shaken baby syndrome. In 2003, Dr. Berger received a prestigious, five-year Career Development Award from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to conduct this research.

The annual "40 Under 40" list recognizes talented individuals under the age of 40 who are making a positive impact on the region's development. Established in 1999, these awards help highlight Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania as a place where young people can make a difference. The winners will be guests of honor at a celebration Friday, Nov. 10, and are featured in the November issue of PITTSBURGH magazine.

"Dr. Berger's selection to this list is a well-deserved recognition of her talents and accomplishments at such a young age," said Janet Squires, MD, chief of Children's Child Advocacy Center. "She has made significant contributions as a clinician and scientist in the field of child abuse and her achievements are drawing the attention of fellow child abuse experts from around the world."

Collaborating with colleagues at Children's and the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Berger has discovered that certain biomarkers which can be detected through a blood test may indicate that an infant has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI from abuse is the leading cause of death in infants under the age of 1.

Often, infants who are abused have very common symptoms such as vomiting, fussiness and irritability. Dr. Berger's blood test would help physicians screen infants with TBI who might otherwise have been missed and returned to a violent caretaker.

Dr. Berger is a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics. She also is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society; the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children; the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect; and the Helfer Society, an honorary society for experts and leaders in the field of child abuse and neglect. For her groundbreaking research, Dr. Berger was awarded the Michael E. Miller Young Investigator Award in 2004, given annually to the most promising young researcher at Children's.

Dr. Berger earned her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1992 and her graduate degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York in 1996. She completed her internship and residency in 1999 and her fellowship in General Academic Pediatrics in 2001, all at Children's.

Dr. Berger lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband, Adam, and three children.

View Dr. Berger's Biography

Learn more about Children's Child Advocacy Center

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 15, 2008
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Last Update
February 15, 2008