Margaret Hamburg

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Peggy Hamburg
Margaret-Hamburg Headshot.jpg
Commissioner of Food and Drugs
In office
May 22, 2009 – April 3, 2015
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byAndrew von Eschenbach
Succeeded byRobert Califf
Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation
In office
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byPeter Edelman[1]
Succeeded byBobby Jindal[2]
Health Commissioner of New York City
In office
December 24, 1991 – April 15, 1997
Acting: June 11, 1991 – December 24, 1991
MayorDavid Dinkins
Rudy Giuliani
Preceded byWoody Myers
Succeeded byBenjamin Mojica
Personal details
Born (1955-07-12) July 12, 1955 (age 65)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Peter Brown
RelativesBeatrix Hamburg (Mother)
David A. Hamburg (Father)
EducationHarvard University (BA, MD)

Margaret Ann "Peggy" Hamburg (born July 12, 1955, Chicago, Illinois) is an American physician and public health administrator, who is serving as the chair of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).[3] She served as the 21st Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from May 2009 to April 2015.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Hamburg graduated from Harvard College in 1977 and earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1983.[citation needed] She completed her medical residency training at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.


Following her medical training, Hamburg moved to Washington, D.C., to begin her career in public service. She served in several roles, including Assistant Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. In 1991 Hamburg was appointed Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she served for six years, working first for Mayor David Dinkins and then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. During her tenure, she worked on improved services for women and children, a needle-exchange program to reduce HIV transmission, a program to curtail the resurgence and spread of tuberculosis, and the nation's first public health bioterrorism preparedness program.[5]

In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Hamburg as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She served in this policy role until 2001 when she became the founding Vice President for Biological Programs and later the Senior Scientist for the Nuclear Threat Initiative,[6] a foundation dedicated to reducing the threat to public safety from nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. In that role, Hamburg spearheaded efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to both naturally occurring and deliberately caused biological threats.


Hamburg (center right) visits a California rice farm in 2013 while Commissioner of the FDA

Hamburg was nominated by President Barack Obama in March 2009 to become Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration,[7] and was unanimously confirmed in May 2009.[8] As FDA Commissioner she was known for advancing regulatory science, streamlining and modernizing FDA's regulatory pathways, and globalization of the agency, as well as the implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009), the Food Safety Modernization Act (2011), and a review of the system for the evaluation and approval of medical devices.

Hamburg was the longest-serving FDA commissioner since David A. Kessler, and was the second woman to hold the position.[9]

In April 2015 Hamburg was appointed Foreign Secretary of the National Academy of Medicine.[10] In December 2016, Hamburg was named president-elect for the AAAS.[11] She serves a three-year term as an officer and member of the Executive Committee of the AAAS Board of Directors beginning in February 2017.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Margaret A. Hamburg at Spotlight Health, Aspen Ideas Festival, in 2015.

Hamburg is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American College of Physicians, as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Academy of Medicine, where she now serves as Foreign Secretary.

Hamburg has received numerous awards, among them the National Consumers League's Trumpeter Award in 2011[12] and the National Center for Health Research's 2011 Health Research Policy Hero Award.[13] She has also received the American College of Clinical Pharmacology's (ACCP) Nathaniel T. Kwit Memorial Distinguished Service Award,[14] the New York Academy of Medicine Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Health Policy,[15] the Radcliffe Alumnae Award and the American Lung Association's Breath of Life Award. Hamburg was the 2017 recipient of the FDAAA's Harvey W. Wiley Lecture Award for Outstanding Leadership in Advancing Public Health.

She is a distinguished senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies[16] and holds several Honorary Degrees.

Forbes named her as one of the world's 100 most powerful women multiple times, most recently in 2014 (#51).[17]

Other activities[edit]

Corporate boards[edit]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

Hamburg formerly served on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller University, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Conservation International and Henry Schein Inc.

In 2020, Hamburg was appointed by the Council on Foreign Relations to serve on its Independent Task Force on Improving Pandemic Preparedness, co-chaired by Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Frances Fragos Townsend.[30] That year, she also served on the CSIS-LSHTM High-Level Panel on Vaccine Confidence and Misinformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, co-chaired by Heidi Larson and J. Stephen Morrison.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Hamburg is the daughter of Beatrix Hamburg and David A. Hamburg, both physicians. Her mother was the first self-identified African-American woman to be accepted at Vassar College[32] and to earn a degree from the Yale University School of Medicine.[33] Her father is President Emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and also served as the president of the AAAS in 1984.[34][35]

Hamburg is married to Peter Fitzhugh Brown, a computer scientist and artificial intelligence expert. Brown is the chief executive officer of Renaissance Technologies.[36] Renaissance Technologies employees were collectively the top donors to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign[37] and collectively the third largest donors to Hillary Clinton,[38] giving $15.5 million and $16.5 million respectively.

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ "PN530 - Nomination of Margaret Ann Hamburg for Department of Health and Human Services, 105th Congress (1997-1998)". 30 October 1997.
  2. ^ "PN249 - Nomination of Piyush Jindal for Department of Health and Human Services, 107th Congress (2001-2002)". 25 May 2001.
  3. ^ "Organization and Governance". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  4. ^ FDA head Margaret Hamburg to resign in March; Ostroff to be acting chief (Washington Post article-February 5, 2015)
  5. ^ "Biography of Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D." U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
  6. ^ Pugh, Tony (5 February 2015). "FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg to step down in March". McClatchy DC. McClatchy Washington Bureau. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  7. ^ Gardiner Harris (11 March 2009). "Ex-New York Health Commissioner Is F.D.A. Pick". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
  8. ^ Gratzer, David (2009-05-21). "FDA commissioner". US FDA. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  9. ^ "Biography of Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D." U.S. Food & Drug Administration. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
  10. ^ "Margaret A. Hamburg Appointed as Institute of Medicine Foreign Secretary". The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. April 6, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  11. ^ Korte, Andrea. "Margaret Hamburg Selected to Serve as AAAS President-Elect". AAAS. AAAS. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  12. ^ "2011 Trumpeter Recipient: Dr. Margaret Hamburg". Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  13. ^ "2011 Foremothers & Health Policy Hero Awards". National Research Center for Women & Families. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  14. ^ "2016 ACCP Annual Meeting". American College of Clinical Pharmacology.
  15. ^ "The Academy Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Health Policy". The New York Academy of Medicine.
  16. ^ Office of Research on Women's Health (25 March 2004). "Dr. Margaret Hamburg". Changing the Face of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  17. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  18. ^ Leadership Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
  19. ^ "Board of Trustees". American Museum of Natural History. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Scientific Advisory Committee". Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  21. ^ "Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Elected to Commonwealth Fund Board of Directors". The Commonwealth Fund. The Commonwealth Fund.
  22. ^ [1] Duke–NUS Medical School.
  23. ^ External Advisory Board: Margaret Hamburg Department of Global Health, University of Washington.
  24. ^ Board members GAVI Alliance
  25. ^ "Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows". Harvard Medical School. Harvard Medical School. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  26. ^ Board of Directors Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).
  27. ^ Scientific Advisory Board for the Autism Research Initiative: Margaret Hamburg Simons Foundation.
  28. ^ "Board of Trustees". Urban Institute. Urban Institute. 2017-10-25.
  29. ^ Strategic Advisory Board on Vaccines and Drug-resistant Infections Wellcome Trust.
  30. ^ Independent Task Force Report No. 78 – Improving Pandemic Preparedness: Lessons From COVID-19 Council on Foreign Relations, October 2020.
  31. ^ Call to Action: CSIS-LSHTM High-Level Panel on Vaccine Confidence and Misinformation, October 19, 2020 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
  32. ^ Streett, Laura (February 11, 2014). "Vassar's First Black Students". The Gargoyle Bulletin. Vassar College. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  33. ^ Peart, Karen N. (May 27, 2011). "School of Medicine honors its first African-American women graduates". Yale News. Yale University. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  34. ^ "New AAAS President Emphasizes Science as Public Service". AAAS - The World's Largest General Scientific Society. 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  35. ^ Lederberg, Joshua (1983-07-29). "David A. Hamburg: President-Elect of AAAS". Science. 221 (4609): 431–432. Bibcode:1983Sci...221..431L. doi:10.1126/science.221.4609.431. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 17755464.
  36. ^ Patterson, Scott; Strasburg, Jenny. "Pioneering Fund Stages Second Act". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  37. ^ "Top Contributors, federal election data for Donald Trump, 2016 cycle". Open Secrets. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  38. ^ "Top Contributors, federal election data for Hillary Clinton, 2016 cycle". Open Secrets. Retrieved 19 December 2017.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Woody Myers
Health Commissioner of New York City
Succeeded by
Benjamin Mojica
Preceded by
Peter Edelman
Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation
Succeeded by
Bobby Jindal
Preceded by
Andrew von Eschenbach
Commissioner of Food and Drugs
Succeeded by
Robert Califf