David A. Hamburg


School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award (1997)
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
School of Medicine
M.D., 1947
Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion (1991)
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich
Honorary Degree (1976)
Doctor of Science
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: John William Ryan


David A. Hamburg had been described as a "quite profound scholar" who had a strong and "growing concern with the manner in which medical care is brought to the American people." This characterization made in 1976 by Philip Handler, then-president of the National Academy of Sciences, is but one example of the esteem Dr. Hamburg was accorded in the field of psychiatric medicine.

A native of Evansville, Indiana, Dr. Hamburg received his A.B. degree from Indiana University in 1944 and his M.D. degree in 1947. After completing an internship and residency at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago and a residency at Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Hamburg served in the U.S. Army as a psychiatrist and as a research psychiatrist. His early research interests were coping and adaptation; behavioral, endocrine, and genetic aspects of stress; and the biological basis and development of aggressive behavior.

Dr. Hamburg's career included positions as associate director, Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training, Michael Reese Hospital; chief, adult psychiatry branch, National Institutes of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland (1958-1961); and at Stanford University School of Medicine, professor and chairman, department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences (1961-1972) and Reed Hodgson's professor of human biology (1972-1976). He was president of the Institute of Medicine (1975-1980), and then served as John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy, a cross-faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School and the Kennedy School (1980 to 1982). He later served as visiting professor at Harvard Medical School's department of social medicine. In 1982, he assumed the presidency of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a position he held until 1997.

Dr. Hamburg was president of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences; president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1984-1986); a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, twice; and the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology. In October 2011, he served as DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholar at Weill Cornell Medical College and Distinguished Presidential Adviser on International Affairs, National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Hamburg was a member of the United States Defense Policy Board with Secretary of Defense William Perry, and served as co-chair with former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. He was also a member of President Bill Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. Dr. Hamburg chaired two parallel committees at the United Nations and European Union on the prevention of genocide, one reporting directly to the UN Secretary-General and the other to Javier Solana, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union. He was the founder of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government, and, in 1994, established the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Conflict.

His professional activities include associations with the Psychiatry Research Society, the International Society for Research on Aggression, the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was head of the Commission on Drugs and Behavior for the Council of the Salk Institute on Biology and Human Affairs, and also served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Preventive Action of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Advisory Council of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies, and the Harvard International Advisory Council.

Dr. Hamburg published many papers on psychological stress and endocrine function, adaptive behavior under stress, and the evolution and genetics of behavior. He was author of Psychiatry as a Behavioral Science (1970) published under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, and was co-editor of Coping and Adaptation (1974). He also penned Today's Children: Creating a Future for a Generation in Crisis (1992); No More Killing Fields: Preventing Deadly Conflict (2002); Learning to Live Together: Preventing Hatred and Violence in Child and Adolescent Development (2004); and Preventing Genocide: Practical Steps toward Early Detection and Effective Action (2010). Dr. Hamburg has served on the boards of at least fourteen scientific and professional journals.

Among the many honors awarded to Dr. Hamburg include the President's Medal for Advancement of Biomedical Research from the Michael Reese Medical Center and the Research Prize from the International Society for Research on Aggression, both in 1974. He also received the Foreign Policy Association's Medal; the Sarnat Mental Health Award of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences; the International Peace Academy's 25th Anniversary Special Award; the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal (its highest award) in 1998; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian award of the United States) in 1996.