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Margaret Hamburg, MD

2018 Alma Dea Morani Awardee

Dr. Hamburg is an internationally recognized leader in public health and medicine. As Foreign Secretary of the National Academy of Medicine, she serves as senior advisor on international matters and is the liaison with other Academies of Medicine around the world. She is also President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Hamburg earned her B.A. from Harvard College, her MD from Harvard Medical School and did her medical residency at Weill Cornell Medical Center. Following completion of her formal medical training, Dr. Hamburg went to Washington to pursue interests in health policy. She soon took on the role of Assistant Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In 1991, Dr. Hamburg was named Commissioner of the New York City Department of health. During her six-year tenure there, she implemented rigorous public health initiatives that tackled the city’s most pressing crises head-on — including improved services for women and children, an internationally recognized tuberculosis control program, a needle-exchange program to combat HIV transmission, and the nation’s first public health bio-terrorism preparedness program.

In 1997, President Clinton named Dr. Hamburg Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the lead policy position in the Department. She later became founding Vice President for Biological Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a foundation dedicated to reducing the threat to public safety from nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. 

In 2009, President Obama nominated Dr. Hamburg for the post of FDA Commissioner. In that role, Dr. Hamburg emphasized the critical need for innovation in meeting medical care and public health needs. As Commissioner, she provided leadership on many groundbreaking activities, including: new authority to regulate tobacco products; implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act designed to transform food safety to a preventive system rather than simply responding when outbreaks occur; and modernization of the system for the evaluation and approval of medical products. She also worked hard to reposition FDA as an agency prepared for the challenges of globalization and was very active in efforts to establish new mechanisms for global governance of regulatory systems, including enhanced communication, collaboration and regulatory harmonization.

Dr. Hamburg currently sits on a number of the Boards, including for the Commonwealth Fund, the Simons Foundation, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the Urban Institute, and the American Museum of Natural History. She is chair of the Joint Coordinating Group for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, and a member of the Harvard University Global Advisory Council, the Global Health Scientific Advisory Committee for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows, and the World Dementia Council. Dr Hamburg formerly served on the Boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller University, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Conservation International and Henry Schein Inc. Dr. Hamburg is an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Academy of Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American College of Physicians. She is the recipient of multiple honorary degrees and numerous awards.