The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has selected Rita Hamad, MD, PhD as the 2020 James C. Puffer, MD/American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Fellow. Dr. Hamad serves as associate professor and as Director of Social Policies for the Health Equity Research (SPHERE) program in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Dr. Hamad received her medical degree from UCSF and PhD from Stanford University, and completed her family medicine residency training at UCSF - Contra Costa Family Medicine Residency.
As the director of SPHERE, Dr. Hamad’s research focuses on the pathways linking poverty and education with health disparities across the life course. In particular, she studies the health effects of social and economic policies using interdisciplinary quasi-experimental methods. She also investigates the mechanisms through which adverse socioeconomic conditions get "under the skin" to cause disease.
Dr. Hamad is the Associate Director of the Center for Health Equity, and is a member of the steering committee of the UCSF Population Health Data Initiative, serving as the Faculty Lead for the development of data infrastructure to advance population health research on campus. She previously served as the Policy Lead of the UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative, spearheading an agenda to reduce disparities in preterm birth by addressing its upstream determinants. Dr. Hamad mentors trainees at all levels in population health research, and she supervises family medicine residents at the Family Health Center at San Francisco General Hospital. She also serves on the Communications Committee of the Interdisciplinary Association of Population Health Sciences.
As a NAM Fellow, Dr. Hamad will receive a research stipend of $25,000 to further her career. Named in honor of James C. Puffer, M.D., president and chief executive officer emeritus of the ABFM, the fellowship program enables talented, early career health policy and science scholars in family medicine to participate in the work of the Academies and further their careers as future leaders in the field. NAM Fellows continue their main responsibilities while engaging part-time over a two-year period in the Academies’ health and science policy work.
The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.