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Robert Califf Rejoins FDA as Commissioner; Xavier Becerra Quoted

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Robert Califf, who served as commissioner of the Food and Drugs Administration from February 2016 to January 2017, officially returned to the agency Thursday as its top official after serving as head of medical strategy at Google’s parent company Alphabet.

The prominent cardiologist was nominated by President Biden to the FDA leadership post in November 2021 and confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 15 through a 50-46 vote.

The FDA is one of our nation’s most critical public health agencies and having a commissioner with Dr. Califf’s experience and expertise will ensure we are well positioned to combat COVID-19, the opioid crisis, and many other public health challenges,” Xavier Becerra, HHS secretary and previous Wash100 Award recipient, said in a statement released Thursday.

Califf initially led the agency under the Obama administration and was the agency’s deputy commissioner of medical products and tobacco before his promotion.

He joined Alphabet in November 2019 from his prior role as vice chancellor for clinical and translational research at Duke University, where he also taught medicine as an adjunct professor.

A clinical trial specialist, Califf has more than 1,300 biomedical science publications in the peer-reviewed literature.