Dr. Rita Hamad is a social epidemiologist and family physician in the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and the Department of Family & Community Medicine at UCSF. She is the director of the Social Policies for Health Equity Research Program (https://sphere.ucsf.edu). Her research focuses on the pathways linking social factors like poverty and education with racial and socioeconomic disparities in health across the life course. In particular, she studies the health effects of social and economic policies using interdisciplinary quasi-experimental methods to generate actionable evidence to inform policymaking.
Dr. Hamad is the Associate Director of the Center for Health Equity. She is also a member of the steering committee of the UCSF Population Health Data Initiative, serving as the Faculty Lead for the development of data infrastructure to advance population health research on campus. She previously served as the Policy Lead of the UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative, spearheading an agenda to reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities in preterm birth by addressing its upstream determinants. Outside of UCSF, she is the co-Chair of the Communications Committee of the Interdisciplinary Association of Population Health Sciences and was a Fellow at the National Academy of Medicine during 2020-2022. Dr. Hamad mentors trainees at all levels in population health and health equity research, and lectures in several courses about the effects of social policies on health inequities. She saw patients for 10 years in safety net clinics throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, although she is no longer a practicing physician.