Beatrix A. Hamburg, M.D. & David A. Hamburg, M.D.

2015 Pardes Humanitarian Prizewinners in Mental Health


Dr. Betty Hamburg and Dr. David Hamburg have blended their scientific knowledge, their understanding of human behavior, and their profound compassion into a unique vision—imagining and catalyzing a better future for people of all ages and backgrounds, most often those who are undergoing severe stress and who suffer from mental disorders. They have done so with great thoughtfulness using their positions and access with skill, grace and wisdom. In the process they have inspired and transformed the careers of many others, including humanitarians, scholars, scientists, clinicians and academics. Hundreds of people have profited from their direct mentoring inspired by their example of using knowledge for the greater good.

David and Betty started their careers jointly studying human coping processes under severe stress, from physical stress to mental illness, severe depression, poverty and war. David set up the first Mental Health Clinical Research Center at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and initiated a line of research on the role of stress biology in severe mood disorders, an area that continues to be a major focus of research to date. As Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University, he created a visionary, highly multidisciplinary department that became a prototype for others across the nation.

The kidnapping of four Stanford students in rural Congo brought him to the international scene and showcased his unique skills in negotiating complex situations in conflict. His focus shifted to health and science policy as he became the President of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), followed by a stint at Harvard University as Director of the Division of Health Policy Research and Education, and then almost 20 years as President of the Carnegie Corporation. More recently, he chaired commissions for both the United Nations and the European Union with important results. A mark of his unparalleled contributions is his receipt of the highest civilian award in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Read the Press Release Announcing the Prize.