Chinese Rhodes

Inspired by the ambitious Healthy China 2030 strategy, Omar Hamade ’19 plans to study health care equity as a Schwarzman Scholar in Beijing.

Chinese Rhodes
One of the initiatives of Healthy China 2030, the biggest health system reform in the world, is education aiming to achieve a smoke-free society. Photo courtesy AP.

Chinese Rhodes. That’s what the prestigious Schwarzman Scholars program is sometimes called—instead of the University of Oxford in England, Schwarzman Scholars study leadership at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Omar Hamade ’19 is headed there this year as the second Santa Clara alumnus to win the scholarship, through which he’ll pursue a one-year master’s degree as he works on health care equity issues.

“The Schwarzman program is an exciting opportunity to gain an intimate under- standing of China and its role in the world, [and] engage with global leaders on the most pressing challenges of our generation,” says Hamade, who graduated summa cum laude from SCU in three years with a degree in biology.

After graduation, he went to work at Genentech, providing strategic analysis to increase access of medicines to more than 120 million patients worldwide.

Hoping to learn from China’s Healthy China 2030 strategy, the country’s long-term approach to health care reform and policy, Hamade says he plans to investigate how the U.S. and China can be partners in global health improvement efforts.

Transforming healthcare for the underprivileged is a passion for Hamade, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. as Syrian and Iranian refugees. As a junior at SCU, he co-founded a community clinic in San Jose that won $200,000 in grants to support 20 doctors. The year before, he started a free science and math tutoring program for low-income middle schoolers.

At SCU, Hamade was known as a “big- picture thinker,” and a natural leader. “A lot of people can say ‘this is what I want to do,’” says SCU biology assistant professor Brian Bayless. “Omar would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I’m going to do it.’”