FDA Commissioner Names Directors to Food Safety and Veterinary Centers

Commissioner of Food and Drugs Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., is pleased to announce two major changes in the agency’s senior leadership team. Effective Monday, Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., is moving from director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) to director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN).  Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., who is deputy director of CVM, will assume directorship of CVM, also effective Monday.

“It is more important than ever that the American public feel confident in the safety of the food they eat and feed their loved ones,” said von Eschenbach. “Drs. Sundlof and Dunham are world class scientists and leaders, with the dedication, vision and expertise needed to tackle challenges and enhance the science involved in assuring the safety and nutritional value of something so vital to healthy life; namely our food.”

For over a decade, Dr. Sundlof has served as the director of CVM.  In that capacity, with his background as a toxicologist, he has overseen the regulation of feed, including food additives, and drugs intended for animals. These include animals from which human foods are derived, as well as food and drugs for pets (or companion animals) and other non-food-producing animals such as zoo animals, parakeets, hamsters, and aquarium fish.

Dr. Sundlof has extensive experience in the food safety and protection arena, including service on numerous domestic and international committees on food safety, where he served as chairman and led the development of new international policies and safety standards. He also provided significant input into the development of the FDA’s Food Protection Plan issued in November 2007, a strategic and comprehensive approach to improve food safety and defense in the United States.  He was instrumental in putting in place robust animal feed programs to prevent Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also called mad cow disease, from entering the U.S. feed system. There have been no cases of mad cow disease in the United States resulting from a failure of the feed system. This depth and breadth of experience makes him well suited to serve as director of CFSAN.

Prior to joining FDA, Dr. Sundlof served on the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, where he held the rank of professor of toxicology. He also has received many honors and awards as a leader in his field and has authored several scientific and technical papers. Since 1994 he has served as chairman of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods.

Dr. Dunham has worked closely with Dr. Sundlof in her role as deputy director of CVM since 2006. She has played a critical role, and provided executive leadership, in coordinating and establishing center policy in research, management, scientific evaluation, compliance, and surveillance. While serving as CVM deputy director, Dr. Dunham also was the director for CVM’s Office of Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Drug Development, the office that oversees drug development for minor species, such as zoo animals, ornamental fish, parrots, ferrets, guinea pigs, sheep, goats, catfish, and honeybees. That office also oversees drug development for uncommon diseases in major species, such as cattle, pigs, chicken, turkeys, horses, dogs and cats.

Before joining the FDA in 2002, Dr. Dunham served in several important leadership positions with the American Veterinary Medical Association and held faculty positions at several universities, including at the Department of Pharmacology at the State University of New York Health Science Center (SUNY-HSC) at Syracuse, while concurrently acting as the director of laboratory animal medicine at SUNY-HSC at Syracuse.

In addition to the scientific peer recognition she has received throughout her career, Dr. Dunham continues to collaborate with colleagues outside of FDA, as evidenced by her two FDA Leveraging/Collaboration Awards. One recognized her accomplishments as a member of the Swissmedic Bilateral Collaboration, through which the FDA and its Swiss counterpart work to increase collaboration on facility inspections. The other acknowledged her contributions to the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Security and Prosperity Partnership/Negotiation Team. This partnership is a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the United States, Canada and Mexico through greater cooperation and information sharing.

Drs. Sundlof and Dunham will report directly to Dr. von Eschenbach.

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