You are here

Margaret Hamburg

Margaret Hamburg, M.D.

Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg is an American physician and public health administrator who joined the National Academy of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, as foreign secretary in 2015 after serving for six years as the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Hamburg also served as president and chair of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 2017-2019. From 2001-2009, she worked for the Nuclear Threat Initiative, where she became a leading advocate for changes in the nation's public health policies and infrastructure to meet the challenges presented by biological threats including pandemics and bioterrorism. In 1997, President Bill Clinton named Hamburg assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services. Previously, Hamburg served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 1991-1997. There, she focused on improved services for women and children, promoted needle-exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV, initiated the nation’s first public health biological threat defense program, and, in particular, worked on curbing the resurgence and spread of tuberculosis.

Hamburg was the 21st Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and the second woman to serve in the position. During her tenure, she oversaw the modernization of the food safety system to reduce foodborne illness; the advancement of regulatory science, including biomedical product innovation by modernizing and streamlining systems for review and approval of novel medical products in cutting-edge areas of science and medicine; the securing of a safer globalized food and medical product supply chain; and implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco.

Hamburg is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. She conducted research on neuroscience at Rockefeller University, studied neuropharmacology at the National Institute of Mental Health, and undertook HIV/AIDS policy and research as assistant director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

June 2021