Frances M. Hamburger, Ph.D.
A New York native, Frances (Fran) Hamburger earned a New York Regents Scholarship out of Herricks Senior High School in New Hyde Park and enrolled in the State University of New York at Buffalo. She earned a B.S. in Education from Adelphi University in Garden City, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
Fran went on to study psychology at Hofstra University, earning a Ph.D. in 1975. One of the accomplishments Fran remained most proud of throughout her career was that she successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis without requiring any revisions, a feat, which to the best of our knowledge, has not been replicated to date. Fran then began practicing psychology outside Washington, D.C. In addition to her private practice, she also worked with the Holton Arms School, the Child Center, Inc., and the Community Psychiatric Clinic.
Fran married Dr. Max Hamburger, a rheumatologist, in 1971. Together, they raised three children – Jordan, Micole, and Brian.
In 1979, Fran and her family moved back to New York where she continued her private practice in cognitive behavioral therapy focusing on adolescent and family therapy. In 1981, she began working for the St. Charles Out-Patient Rehabilitation Network, and at Arthritis Care & Rehabilitation Associates, where she became the Director of Psychological Services in 1986. She later worked with MDNY, a managed care company, as a member of the Behavioral Health Committee from 2001-2009. In addition to working with children and patients with rheumatoid arthritis, Fran was also a facilitator and speaker for the Parent Education and Custody Effectiveness Program, an interdisciplinary educational program for divorcing and separating adults.
Her interest and work with rheumatology expanded in 2004 when she became President and Director of Educational Services for the Miller Professional Group, the exclusive medical education company for the American Society of Clinical Rheumatologists. She also became the Executive Director of the New York State Rheumatology Society, serving from 2005 until 2017.
Fran’s passion and entrepreneurial energy for improving health care and rheumatology services was exhibited in 2013 when she co-founded Medical Data, Inc. and served as its Executive Vice President. She also co-founded United Rheumatology, LLC in 2014, serving as its Executive Vice President and as a member of its Board of Advisors.
The mission of the Frances M. Hamburger Ph.D. Institute for Community Rheumatology reflects a continuation of Fran's lifelong passion and commitment to helping and teaching patients and physicians – professional pursuits that were cut tragically short by her passing in March of 2017.
When Fran was not working, or thinking about ways to improve health care for patients suffering with rheumatological diseases, she loved to spend time with her family, travel, explore wine (and food), ride horses, and play golf with friends.
Fran is missed dearly and deeply by all those who knew her, and we can think of no better way to preserve and continue her legacy than by establishing this Institute which bears her name and continues her professional mission.
Fran contributed tremendously to the education and purpose of so many rheumatologists currently in practice. Her loss is not only a profound loss for Max and her family, but also for the many physicians, including myself, who knew her.Dr. Charlie Birbara, a practicing rheumatologist and member of United Rheumatology