About the Event: Despite much current talk about “America First,” the United States has a vital interest in global health that is rooted in both practical necessity and humanitarian traditions. There is growing recognition of the complex problem of direct and indirect threats to the health and security of U.S. populations and people around the globe related to the state of health in all countries, the risk of disease spread into this country, the reality of emerging or resurging infections, most recently Ebola, Zika or a pandemic flu, and the growing possibility that biological agents might be deliberately used to do harm. Perhaps less well-recognized are the significant health and safety risks posed by the growing number of products that flow across borders. In our increasingly globalized world, the benefits of a global marketplace can be seen in greater choice for consumers and new opportunities for business and innovation, but it has also created many new challenges for product oversight and protection of complex supply chains. Harmful products result from poor quality manufacturing, production, and distribution, contamination, and even from intentional adulteration, fraud and counterfeiting. Success in protecting the public now depends on reaching beyond our borders, and working effectively with regulatory authorities, industry, and intergovernmental and international organizations to build a global product safety net for consumers and patients around the world.
About the Speaker: Dr. Hamburg is an internationally recognized leader in public health and medicine. As Foreign Secretary of the National Academy of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Dr. Hamburg serves as senior advisor on international matters and is the liaison with other Academies of Medicine around the world. She is also President-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Dr. Hamburg earned her A.B. from Harvard College, her M.D. from Harvard Medical School and completed her medical residency at Weill Cornell Medical Center. Following completion of her formal medical training, Dr. Hamburg went to Washington to explore the world of 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. Dr. Hamburg 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 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 also a member of the Harvard University Global Advisory Council, the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows, the World Dementia Council and the Global Health Scientific Advisory Committee for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 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.