Physician’s Profile

Ana Berlin, MD

Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Dr. Ana Berlin is a dually-trained general surgeon and palliative care physician who thrives on the diagnostic, therapeutic, and ethical dilemmas that so commonly accompany urgent, emergent, and high-stakes surgical problems. Her interest in prognostication, communication, and decision-making in the surgical setting has driven her to forge a unique path at the intersection of surgery and palliative care. Throughout her career, she has worked to promote the incorporation of ethics, professionalism, and palliative care into surgical education and practice. Her research on surgical outcomes, palliative care utilization, and communication in surgical decision making has helped define triggers to aid in the identification of vulnerable patients for whom early concurrent palliative care is most appropriate, and to guide the development and evaluation of tools that help patients, families, and surgeons navigate difficult treatment decisions and formulate goal-concordant care plans. Dr. Berlin’s interest in pursuing systems-based approaches to promoting cultural change and quality improvement in health care has shaped her efforts to develop curricular interventions and clinical pathways to help surgeons provide compassionate, patient-centered care that minimizes the hazards and maximizes the value of surgical treatment.


Hispanic Center of Excellence Faculty Scholar
Rutgers University – New Jersey Medical School
May 2015 - September 2018

Finalist, Jameson L Chassin, MD, FACS, Award for Professionalism in General Surgery
American College of Surgeons
December 2013

Best Short Communication – Excellence in Medical Education/GME Category
American Association of Medical Colleges Northeast Group on Educational Affairs
April 2013

Distinguished Service Award
Columbia University Department of Surgery
June 2012

Kamangar Ethics Award
American College of Surgeons and Washington University in Saint Louis
December 2010

Mrs. David A. Dreiling Surgery Prize
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
May 2007

Mount Sinai Class of 2007 Service Award
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
May 2004

Research and Internship Grants from President Harold T. Shapiro’s Fund, The Round Table Fund, and the Department of Molecular Biology
Princeton University
May 1999

Irene Esposito Award for Leadership, Motivation, and Initiative
Isles, Inc. of Trenton, New Jersey
May 1997

Hwang F, Boardingham C, Walther S, Jacob M, Hidalgo A, Gandhi CD, Mosenthal AC, Lamba S, Berlin A. Establishing Goals of Care for Patients with Stroke and Feeding Problems: An Interdisciplinary Trigger-Based Continuous Quality Improvement Project. J Pain Symptom Management 2018 Jun 25. pii: S0885-3924(18)30315-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2018.06.010. [Epub ahead of print.] PMID: 29953940.
Berlin A, Hwang F, Singh R, Pentakota SR, Singh R, Chernock B, Mosenthal AC. Outcomes and Palliative Care Utilization in Patients with Dementia and Acute Abdominal Emergency: Opportunities for Surgical Quality Improvement. Surgery 2018 Feb;163(2):444-449. PMID: 29217285
Taylor LJ, Rathouz P, Berlin, A, Brasel K, Mosenthal AC, Finlayson E, Cooper Z, Steffens NM, Jacobson N, Buffington A, Tucholka JL, Zhao Q, Schwarze ML. Navigating High Risk Surgery: A Multi-Site Cluster-Randomized Trial of a Question Prompt List Intervention to Empower Older Adults to Ask Questions that Inform Treatment Decisions. BMJ Open 29 May 2017;7:e014002. PMID: 28554911
McGreevy CM, Bryczkowski S, Pentakota SR, Berlin A, Lamba S, Mosenthal AC. Unmet Palliative Care Needs in Elderly Trauma Patients: Can the Palliative Performance Scale Help Close the Gap? American Journal of Surgery 2017 Apr;213(4):778-784. PMID: 28160967
McGreevy CM, Pentakota SR, Mohamed O, Sigler K, Mosenthal AC, Berlin A. Gastrostomy tube placement: An opportunity for establishing patient-centered goals of care. Surgery 2017 Apr;161(4):1100-1107. PMID 27919451
Berlin A, Kunak A, Mosenthal AC. Perioperative Goal-Setting Consultations by Surgical Colleagues: A New Model for Supporting Patients, Families, and Surgeons in Shared Decision Making. Annals of Palliative Medicine. Ann Palliat Med. 2017 Apr;6(2):178-182. PMID: 28061535
Lamba S, Berlin A, Goett R, Ponce CB, Holland B, Walther S, AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group. Assessing Emotional Suffering in Palliative Care: Use of a Structured Note Template to Improve Documentation. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2016 Jul;52(1):1-7. PMID: 27241439
Lilley EJ, Khan KT, Johnston FM, Berlin A, Bader AM, Mosenthal AC, Cooper Z. Palliative Care Interventions for Surgical Patients: A Systematic Review. JAMA Surg. 151(2):172-83, Feb 2016. PMID: 26606747
Berlin, A. A Heart Set on Living. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 51(1):138-40, Jan 2016. PMID: 26384558
Berlin, A. Patient vs. Self in Surgical Practice. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, 5(1): 2-5, Spring 2015. PMID 25981267
Fingeret A, Reinert AE, Berlin A, Swan-Sein A, Nowygrod R. Validity and Reliability of a Novel Written Examination to Assess Knowledge and Clinical Decision Making Skills of Medical Students on the Surgery Clerkship. American Journal of Surgery, 207(2):236-42, Feb 2014. PMID: 24216186
Berlin, A. "Engaging the 'Disinterested' Learner: How to Use Advocacy and Inquiry to Develop a Shared Mental Model for the Learning Experience," American College of Surgeons Residency Assist Page featured article,, 8 May 2012
Greenstein AJ, Nguyen SQ, Berlin A, Corona J, Lee J, Wong E, Factor SH, Divino CM. Pneumatosis intestinalis in adults: management, surgical indications, and risk factors for mortality, Journal of Gastrointest Surgery,11(10):1268-74, Oct 2007. PMID: 17687617
Thaker HM, Berlin A, Tycko B, Goldstein DP, Berkowitz RS, Castrillon DH, and Genest DR. Immunohistochemistry for the Imprinted Gene Product IPL/PHLDA2 for Facilitating the Differential Diagnosis of Complete Hydatidiform Mole, Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 49(8):630-636, Aug 2004. PMID: 15457853
Hopkins KM, Wang X, Berlin A, Hang H, Thaker HM, and Lieberman HB. Expression of Mammalian Paralogues of HRAD9 and Mrad9 Checkpoint Control Genes in Normal and Cancerous Testicular Tissue, Cancer Research, 63(17):5291-5298, Sept 2003. PMID: 14500360
Berlin A, Paoletti A and Chang F. Mid2p stabilizes septin rings during cytokinesis in fission yeast, The Journal of Cell Biology, 160(7):1083-1092, Mar 2003. PMID: 12654901
Glynn JM, Lustig R, Berlin A and Chang F. The role of bud6p and tea1p in the interaction between actin and microtubules for the establishment of cell polarity in fission yeast, Current Biology, 11(11):836-845, Jun 2001. PMID: 11516644