Biden's contenders to head FDA: 6 things to know

Janet Woodcock, MD, and Joshua Sharfstein, MD, are President Joe Biden's leading contenders to head the FDA, according to The New York Times.

Here are six things to know about them:

Dr. Woodcock

1. Dr. Woodcock is the acting FDA commissioner. She was named to the post Jan. 20 and oversees the FDA's portfolio as well as execution of applicable laws such as the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

2. She has served twice as director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, from 1994 to 2004 and from 2007 until she moved to Operation Warp Speed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

3. Dr. Woodcock initially joined the FDA in 1984. Previous roles in the agency include deputy commissioner and chief medical officer in the commissioner's office, as well as deputy commissioner for operations and COO in the commissioner's office.

Dr. Sharfstein 

4. Dr. Sharfstein is associate dean for public health practice and training, and professor of the practice in health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

5. Before joining Johns Hopkins in 2015, he was secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from January 2011 to December 2014. 

6. Dr. Sharfstein is also a former FDA official. He served as principal deputy commissioner of the agency from from March 2009 to January 2011, after serving as commissioner of health for Baltimore.


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