Dr. Sarto received both her MD and PhD in Medical Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was the first female OBGYN resident at the UW. She has been on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University and the University of New Mexico, where she served as chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has had and continues a lifetime commitment to improving the health of women. First, as a nurse and then as a physician caring for women, an educator training physicians, and, most recently, as a researcher and a leader in women’s health. She returned to the UW in 1998 and is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is also the co-director of the UW Center for Women’s Health Research.
Dr. Sarto has served on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) in multiple capacities. She has also made significant contributions to the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ). Dr. Sarto was one of six founding members of the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) and has served as a member of the Board and as President
Dr. Sarto is the director of two NIH grants, a T-32: Health Disparities Research Scholars Training Program to provide training at the postdoctoral level in interdisciplinary research that addresses disparities in health status and health outcomes; and a BIRCWH: Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health which provides support for young faculty to enhance their careers and to enhance women’s health research. Upon returning to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Sarto served as special assistant to the Dean for Gender Issues and chaired the Faculty Equity and Diversity Committee, whereby she developed a strategic plan to increase the gender, as well as, ethnic/racial, diversity of the faculty.
Dr. Sarto currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Center of Directors for the National Center for Genome Resources and is the Health, Safety & Well-Being Task Force Leader for Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton’s Initiative, Wisconsin Women Equal Prosperity.
Dr. Sarto is a recipient of the American Medical Women’s Association Distinguished Career Award and the Association of Women’s Surgeon Distinguished Member Award. In October 2003, she was named the first woman president of the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society since its inception over a century ago.