Robert Califf Again Nominated as FDA Commissioner

Nov. 12, 2021
He headed the Food and Drug Administration 2016-2017.

Robert Califf, 70, who ran FDA in the final year of Barack Obama's presidency, was nominated Friday by President Joe Biden to again be the agency's commissioner.

While coming nearly a year into Biden's presidency, the nomination was expected. The M.D. headed the agency February 2016 to January 2017. He had been FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco from February 2015 until his appointment as Commissioner. And earlier was a professor of medicine and vice chancellor for clinical and translational research at Duke University, where he graduated.

One news story called him " a widely published scientist." He currently is a senior adviser at Alphabet Inc.’s Verily and Google Health units. If confirmed by the Senate, he would take the place of acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock. Califf’s first appointment to lead the FDA was approved in an 89-4 vote.

That makes two Obama-era faces heading food safety agencies. Tom Vilsack, who served as agriculture secretary for almost the entirety of the Obama administration, was approved by the Senate back in February.

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