ARTICLE | Politics, Policy & Law

Dr. Califf goes to Washington

Why Duke's Robert Califf could meet high expectations as FDA deputy commissioner

February 2, 2015 8:00 AM UTC

FDA has had three deputy commissioners during the Obama administration;each was expected to play a major role in shaping the agency, and none of them lived up to expectations. Last week's announcement that Robert Califf has been named deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco raises even higher expectations, and based on his career and reputation, it seems likely that this time those expectations will be met.

Califf, who has taken a leave of absence from his position as vice chancellor of clinical and translational research at Duke University School of Medicine, is stepping into a position where policy is intertwined with politics, and where success requires managing complex relationships within FDA, with the federal bureaucracy, and with the White House and Congress (see "Success Without Succession?" page 5)...