Rita Hamad
Visiting Scholars and Scientists

Rita Hamad

Visiting Scientist

Social and Behavioral Sciences



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). In July 2023, she will be joining the Harvard School of Public Health as an Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Hamad's 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. She is the co-Chair of the Communications Committee of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science and serves as an Associate Editor for the journal Health Affairs Scholar. In 2020-2022, she was the James C. Puffer American Board of Family Medicine / National Academy of Medicine Fellow. She has provided consultation to state and federal legislators on the design of poverty alleviation policies. 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.