Rita Hamad, MD, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor

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. As the director of the Social Policies for Health Equity Research Program (https://sphere.ucsf.edu), her research focuses on the pathways linking poverty and education with health disparities across the life course. In particular, she studies the health effects of social and economic policies using interdisciplinary quasi-experimental methods. She also investigates the mechanisms through which adverse socioeconomic conditions get "under the skin" to cause disease.

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 disparities in preterm birth by addressing its upstream determinants. Dr. Hamad mentors trainees at all levels in population health research, and she supervises family medicine residents at the Family Health Center at San Francisco General Hospital. She also serves on the Communications Committee of the Interdisciplinary Association of Population Health Sciences.
AB, - Chemistry, Harvard University
PhD, - Epidemiology, Stanford University
- Family Medicine, UCSF - Contra Costa Family Medicine Residency
MPH, MS, - Health & Medical Sciences, University of California Berkeley
MD, - Medicine, University of California San Francisco
Honors and Awards
  • James C. Puffer, M.D./American Board of Family Medicine Fellowship, National Academy of Medicine, 2020-2022
  • Irene Perstein Award, UCSF, 2018-2021
  • Hellman Fellowship, UCSF, 2018-2020
  1. Natural and Unnatural Experiments in Epidemiology.
  2. Association of Neighborhood Disadvantage With Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Events Among Refugees in Denmark.
  3. Short-term effects of the earned income tax credit on mental health and health behaviors.
  4. Geographic and Longitudinal Trends in Media Framing of Obesity in the United States.
  5. Association of Low Socioeconomic Status With Premature Coronary Heart Disease in US Adults.
  6. Neighborhood deprivation and mental health among immigrants to Sweden.
  7. The effect of California's paid family leave policy on parent health: A quasi-experimental study.
  8. Association of Revised WIC Food Package With Perinatal and Birth Outcomes.
  9. Cross-sectional analysis of place-based and racial disparities in hospitalisation rates by disease category in California in 2001 and 2011.
  10. The short-term effects of the earned income tax credit on health care expenditures among US adults.
  11. Disentangling the Effects of Socioeconomic Factors on Outcomes Among Patients With Heart Failure.
  12. Identifying Novel Predictors of State Legislative Action to Address Obesity.
  13. The Impact of the Revised WIC Food Package on Maternal Nutrition during Pregnancy and Postpartum.
  14. Association of Revised WIC Food Package With Perinatal and Birth Outcomes: A Quasi-Experimental Study.
  15. Educational attainment and cardiovascular disease in the United States: A quasi-experimental instrumental variables analysis.
  16. Quality and quantity: The association of state-level educational policies with later life cardiovascular disease.
  17. Differential associations between state-level educational quality and cardiovascular health by race: Early-life exposures and late-life health.
  18. The association of county-level socioeconomic factors with individual tobacco and alcohol use: a longitudinal study of U.S. adults.
  19. Comparing demographic and health characteristics of new and existing SNAP recipients: application of a machine learning algorithm.
  20. Estimating the Short-Term Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Child Health.
  21. Paid Family Leave Effects on Breastfeeding: A Quasi-Experimental Study of US Policies.
  22. Mother's education and late-life disparities in memory and dementia risk among US military veterans and non-veterans.
  23. How and why studies disagree about the effects of education on health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies of compulsory schooling laws.
  24. Causal Thinking as a Critical Tool for Eliminating Social Inequalities in Health.
  25. Consolidated state political party control and the enactment of obesity-related policies in the United States.
  26. Predicting later life health status and mortality using state-level socioeconomic characteristics in early life.
  27. Racial and Socioeconomic Variation in Genetic Markers of Telomere Length: A Cross-Sectional Study of U.S. Older Adults.
  28. Telomere length and health outcomes: A two-sample genetic instrumental variables analysis.
  29. Changing national guidelines is not enough: the impact of 1990 IOM recommendations on gestational weight gain among US women.
  30. Long-term effects of neighbourhood deprivation on diabetes risk: quasi-experimental evidence from a refugee dispersal policy in Sweden.
  31. Hamad and Rehkopf Respond to "Income and Health: Financial Credits as Instruments".
  32. Poverty and Child Development: A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  33. The EARN-Health Trial: protocol for a randomised controlled trial to identify health effects of a financial savings programme among low-income US adults.
  34. The Effects of Job Insecurity on Health Care Utilization: Findings from a Panel of U.S. Workers.
  35. Microcredit participation and women's health: results from a cross-sectional study in Peru.
  36. Poverty, Pregnancy, and Birth Outcomes: A Study of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  37. Using "big data" to capture overall health status: properties and predictive value of a claims-based health risk score.
  38. Psychological well-being during the great recession: changes in mental health care utilization in an occupational cohort.
  39. Large-scale automated analysis of news media: a novel computational method for obesity policy research.
  40. Microcredit participation and child health: results from a cross-sectional study in Peru.
  41. Health education for microcredit clients in Peru: a randomized controlled trial.
  42. Microcredit participation and nutrition outcomes among women in Peru.
  43. Small individual loans and mental health: a randomized controlled trial among South African adults.
  44. Social and economic correlates of depressive symptoms and perceived stress in South African adults.