President Obama nominates prominent cardiologist to lead the FDA

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President Barack Obama nominated prominent cardiologist and researcher Robert Califf, MD, as the FDA commissioner on Sept. 15. The Senate must vote to confirm Califf’s appointment.

Stephen Ostroff, MD, has been serving as acting commissioner since former commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, resigned at the end of March. Ostroff was previously the FDA’s chief scientist.

Califf joined the FDA in February as its deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco after serving as vice chancellor of clinical and translational research at Duke University. He also spent several years as a cardiology professor at Duke and founded the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the world’s largest academic research organization which has conducted studies at more than 37,000 sites in 65 countries.

In a news release announcing Califf’s hiring, the FDA mentioned the Institute for Scientific Information recognized him as one of the top 10 most cited medical authors. He has been involved in more than 1,200 peer-reviewed publications.

Cardiff served on the FDA’s cardio renal advisory committee from 1996 to 2000 and on the FDA’s science board working group from 2007 to 2008.

“Califf is an acclaimed leader in the cardiovascular community who has been recognized by his colleagues throughout his career,” American College of Cardiology President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC, said in a news release. “He has made important contributions to the field of cardiovascular medicine which gives him the perspective valuable to the FDA’s work, which impacts the health of many people.”