Perspective from Douglas L. Mann, MD, FACC
January 17, 2017
2 min read

Califf stepping down as FDA commissioner

Perspective from Douglas L. Mann, MD, FACC
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Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, is stepping down as FDA commissioner effective Friday, Jan. 20, the day of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration.

“Commissioner Califf’s last day will be Jan. 20, 2017, at noon, as per the traditional presidential transition process,” FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Rodriguez told Cardiology Today and Cardiology Today’s Intervention.

Califf, a cardiologist, was named FDA commissioner in February 2016, replacing Margaret A. Hamburg, MD. He joined the agency in January 2015 as deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco.

Robert M. Califf, MD
Robert M. Califf

An acting commissioner will be named shortly, but further information is not available at this time, Rodriguez said.

According to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, if the FDA commissioner position is vacated, the deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine shall act as commissioner unless that person “does not meet the requirements of the Vacancies Reform Act or the president has directed someone else to act as commissioner pursuant to the Vacancies Reform Act.”

The current deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine is Stephen Ostroff, MD, who served as acting FDA commissioner between Hamburg’s resignation and Califf’s confirmation.

Before joining the FDA, Califf served as vice chancellor of clinical and translational research at Duke University, director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the Duke University Medical Center and founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. When he joined the FDA, Califf was one of the top 10 most-cited medical authors according to the Institute for Scientific Information, with more than 1,200 peer-reviewed publications. – by Erik Swain