Date: Dec. 17, 1997
Contacts: Barbara J. Rice, Deputy Director
Dumi Ndlovu, Media Relations Assistant
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David A. Hamburg to Receive 1998 Public Welfare Medal,
Academy's Highest Honor
WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has selected David A. Hamburg to receive the Academy's most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. Hamburg was cited for his dedication to improving the quality of life for young people, for his efforts to prevent violent conflict among nations, and for his effective leadership of the Carnegie Corp., which has brought science and technology to bear on today's leading issues.
Hamburg is president emeritus of the Carnegie Corp. of New York. His 14-year tenure as president ended in June 1997.
"Dr. Hamburg embodies the union of scientific rigor with humane concerns," said Peter H. Raven, NAS home secretary and chair of the selection committee. "As a researcher and public-policy maker, he has focused his considerable experience and abilities on serious national issues where science can affect public policy." Established in 1914, the Public Welfare Medal is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Previous recipients include Vannevar Bush, C. Everett Koop, and Carl Sagan.
"Throughout his career, Dr. Hamburg has worked diligently to improve the well-being and education of young people and the underprivileged, while also creating a stronger structure for science and technology in government," said NAS President Bruce Alberts. "His leadership of Carnegie has molded it into the nation's leading foundation for addressing fundamental issues in arms control, conflict avoidance and resolution, and the origins of ethnic and religious strife."
Beginning in the 1950s, Hamburg distinguished himself as a pioneering investigator of stress and anxiety, as well as of the relationship between physiological and behavioral factors, while at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C. (1952-53); the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training at the Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago (1953-56); the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, Calif. (1957-58, 1967-68); the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 1958-61); and Stanford University (1961-76).
While chief of the adult psychiatry branch at NIMH, he created one of the nation's first clinical research centers to combine psychological and biological factors in studying depression. As chair of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, he established a new department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, distinguished by its breadth of research on behavioral biology, especially in relation to mental illness.
In 1975, during his tenure as Reed-Hodgson Professor of Human Biology at Stanford (1972-76), Hamburg faced a crisis that would change his focus from research to the broader social problems of our time. Four of his students, working at the Gombe Station in Tanzania to study primate behavior, were kidnapped by rebels from Zaire and held for ransom and other demands. Hamburg immediately flew to Gombe and spent 10 weeks negotiating their release.
His vivid exposure to violence, disease, ignorance, and poverty during this time prompted him to devote his energies to using science to help meet social needs. In 1975 he became president of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the health policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences, where he developed major initiatives on health and behavior, health promotion and disease prevention, and the health needs of the underserved as well as developing nations. From 1980 to 1983, Hamburg served as director of the university-wide Division of Health Policy Research and Education and John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., applying a cross-disciplinary approach to health policy issues.
As president of Carnegie, Hamburg expanded its efforts in education and created a program on international peace, adding new commitments to advance understanding of child and adolescent development; to promote human resource development and democratization in Africa, the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and the United States; and to prevent violent conflict among groups. In 1996 Hamburg received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
In the international security field, he has served on many policy advisory boards, including the Executive Panel for the Chief of Naval Operations, the NAS Committee on International Security and Arms Control, and the U.S.-Soviet Joint Study Group on Crisis Prevention. He is currently a member of the Defense Policy Board of the Department of Defense and co-chair, with Cyrus Vance, of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.
In science policy, he has chaired several national groups, including committees and advisory boards of IOM, NIMH, and the National Science Foundation. From 1976 to 1988, he served on the Advisory Committee on Medical Research of the World Health Organization. He was president and board chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 1984 to 1986, and in 1988 founded the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government. In 1994, Hamburg was tapped for the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also chairs the Forum on Adolescence, a joint effort of the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council to assess adolescent health and development.
Hamburg is on the boards of the Rockefeller University, the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and the American Museum of Natural History, New York City; and the Johann Jacobs Foundation, Zurich. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as author of Today's Children: Creating a Future for a Generation in Crisis
(1992). Born in 1925 in Evansville, Ind., Hamburg attended Indiana University and its medical school, receiving his M.D. in 1947.
The NAS Public Welfare Medal, consisting of a bronze medal and an illuminated scroll, will be presented to Hamburg during the NAS annual meeting in April 1998. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, non-profit institution that provides science advice under a congressional charter.