U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., will deliver the keynote address at the 2012 commencement ceremony for Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.
Einstein’s 54th graduation will take place at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.
The 21st commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Hamburg was appointed in 2009, and is only the second woman ever to fill the post. As the agency’s top official, she oversees programs and policies to protect and promote public health, and has launched a nationwide public-private effort to grow regulatory science as a means for advancing the development and evaluation of medical products. She is also leading the FDA’s shift into a global regulatory agency responsible for ensuring the safety and quality of imported food, drugs and medical devices sold in the United States.
“We are honored to have FDA Commissioner Hamburg as Einstein’s commencement keynote speaker,” said Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein. “As a highly accomplished physician, scientist, and public health official, she is a true role model for our graduates.”
In her address to the 2012 graduates, Dr. Hamburg will reflect on her own experiences as a young intern, some of the lessons she learned, and what led her to a career in public health policy. Dr. Hamburg will also talk about the importance of doctors and scientists building trust and confidence in their patients and the public; the global and multidisciplinary nature of healthcare challenges in the 21st century; and the absolute necessity for healthcare professionals – from clinicians, to researchers, to leaders of critical regulatory agencies like the FDA – to communicate with each other and work as a team.
Dr. Hamburg said, “I look forward to congratulating this year’s Einstein graduates and their families, and talking about our rapidly changing healthcare system, and both the challenges they face and responsibilities they bear as the next generation of doctors, researchers, and policymakers leading that system.”
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Hamburg earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School and completed her residency at what is now New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. She conducted neuroscience research at Rockefeller University in New York and at the National Institute of Mental Health, and later focused on AIDS research as assistant director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
After just a year in the New York City Department of Health, Dr. Hamburg was named its commissioner, a position she held for six years. In 1997, three years after she was elected one of the youngest-ever members of the Institute of Medicine, President Bill Clinton named Dr. Hamburg assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She then became founding vice president for biological programs at a foundation dedicated to reducing the threat to public safety from nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
Dr. Spiegel will present the diplomas at the May 30th ceremony. He will be joined by Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel. This year, Einstein plans to confer approximately 165 M.D. degrees and 16 Ph.D. degrees. Ten graduates will receive both an M.D. and a Ph.D. degree. Alumni and faculty teaching awards will also be given to a number of individuals during the ceremony.