AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, sent a Feb. 2 letter to all U.S. senators, encouraging their vote to confirm Robert Califf, MD, to be the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The AAMC strongly believes that Dr. Califf is uniquely qualified to lead the FDA at this critical time as the nation continues to respond to COVID-19 and looks ahead to harnessing basic research findings into novel and innovative new treatments, vaccines, diagnostics, and cures to improve the health of all Americans,” he said.
The letter outlined Califf’s qualifications to lead the agency, including his experience in clinical and translational research leadership at Duke University School of Medicine, as well as his previous experience as FDA commissioner and as the agency’s deputy commissioner of the Office of Medical Products and Tobacco.
“Dr. Califf also has an in-depth, multidimensional perspective on the broad array of stakeholders contributing to, and affected by, the FDA’s work. … In this moment of unprecedented public health need and with the expertise, experience, and commitment to public health shown by this nominee, I urge you to support Dr. Califf’s nomination to lead the FDA,” Skorton stated.
Skorton and AAMC Chief Scientific Officer Ross McKinney, Jr., MD, also co-authored a Feb. 5 opinion piece in The Hill highlighting the confirmation of an FDA commissioner as a matter of national preparedness. “As physicians and researchers familiar with the importance and operation of the FDA, we believe our nation’s ability to respond to public health threats of all types requires permanent leadership, and Dr. Robert Califf is the right person at the right time,” they stated.
The AAMC previously shared support for Califf’s nomination in a Nov. 12, 2021, press statement and a Dec. 13, 2021, letter to leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which oversees the FDA commissioner nomination process. Califf’s nomination was most recently approved by the committee on Jan. 13 [refer to Washington Highlights, Jan. 14]. A date has not been set for the final Senate vote, which requires approval of at least 50 senators to confirm the nomination.