Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who for almost six years has overseen public health initiatives ranging from tobacco control and food safety to personalized medicine, disease control and drug approvals, is stepping down, Reuters News Agency has reported.
Hamburg, 59, is one of the longest-serving FDA commissioners in the modern era. She was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May 2009 and last year was named the world’s 51st most powerful woman by Forbes.
Hamburg, one of the longest-serving FDA commissioners in the modern era, told Reuters in an interview that her decision was prompted by the heavy demands of the job and the sheer length of time she has held the position. “This is a very challenging job full of opportunities to make a huge and enduring difference,” she said, “but it is 24/7 and there are really really difficult decisions to make.”
Late last month, the agency named Dr. Robert Califf, a prominent cardiologist and researcher from Duke University, to oversee its drug, medical device and tobacco policy. Reuters adds that Califf may be a potential successor to Hamburg.
A long-time public health official with extensive experience fighting AIDS and tuberculosis, Hamburg, who graduated from Harvard Medical School, previously served at the National Institutes of Health before becoming New York City’s health commissioner.