FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf to speak at Health Journalism ’22 in Austin

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D., M.A.C.C.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D., M.A.C.C., will talk about the agency’s main priorities on Friday, April 29, at the Association of Health Care Journalists’ first conference since 2019. His remarks will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Dr. Califf served as FDA commissioner at the end of the Obama administration. In returning to the post, he emphasized a need for the FDA to help counter misinformation about science that he says has become increasingly prevalent.

“These kinds of distortions and half-truths that find their way into the public domain do enormous harm, both by leading people to behavior that is detrimental to their health and by causing them to eschew interventions that would improve their health,” Califf said in a memo to staff.

Lessons from the pandemic, the health threat posed by e-cigarettes, pain management without addiction, and the pressures on the drug approval process will also likely be part of the conversation.

Califf was confirmed earlier this year as the 25th commissioner of the FDA — his second stint, having served in 2016.  Before assuming the role at that time, he was FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco.

He has had a long career as a physician, researcher, and leader in science and medicine and is a nationally recognized expert in cardiovascular medicine, health outcomes research, health care quality and clinical research. He is also a leader in the growing field of translational research, which is key to ensuring that advances in science translate into medical care.

Prior to rejoining the FDA in 2022, Califf was head of medical strategy and senior advisor at Alphabet Inc., contributing to strategy and policy for its health subsidiaries Verily Life Sciences and Google Health. He joined Alphabet in 2019, after serving as a professor of medicine and vice chancellor for clinical and translational research at Duke University. He also served as director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute and was the founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Califf is a graduate of Duke University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and a fellowship in cardiology at Duke.

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