Dr. Kira Bacal was born and raised in New York State and completed her undergraduate degree in math and biology at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She was a National Institutes of Health Medical Scientist Training Program Pre-Doctoral Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine where she earned both a medical degree and a PhD in molecular physiology and biophysics.
Dr. Bacal completed an emergency medicine residency at Albany Medical Center Hospital in Albany, New York, and an aerospace medicine residency (a subspecialty of preventive medicine) in the program co-sponsored by NASA / Johnson Space Center (JSC) and the University of Texas. In this latter program, she also earned a master's degree in public health.
Following her training, Dr. Bacal worked for several years at Johnson Space Center in the branch of Medical Informatics and Health Care Systems. There, she was responsible for improving the medical systems used in space. She was then awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellowship and spent nearly 18 months working on Capitol Hill for U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). She subsequently spent six months in New Zealand as a post-doctoral fellow at Mauri Ora Associates, a private consultancy specializing in improving health care to underserved populations.
Dr. Bacal then went to Ohio University, where she held a joint faculty position in the medical school and public policy center. She remains an adjunct faculty member there, but in early 2007, Dr. Bacal returned to New Zealand on a permanent basis. She currently holds a position at the University of Auckland, as their medical program’s Phase 2 Director, and also serves as a Coordinating Doctor for International SOS, a medical assistance company.