FDA Moves Closer To Becoming An Information Broker

By Daniel R. Matlis

FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach recently announced the creation of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. The position will be held by Dr. Janet Woodcock, a strong advocate for modernization and transformation at the FDA.

“FDA is a science-based agency and science-led Agency; science provides the foundation for our regulatory decisions and the work we do on a daily basis to promote and protect the nations’ health,” said Dr. von Eschenbach. “Creation of this office, and position, will better ensure we achieve this mission with the highest scientific quality and effectiveness needed.”

As the Deputy Commissioner and the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Woodcock will oversee scientific and planning-related operations for FDA. In this capacity, Dr. Woodcock shares responsibility and collaboration with the Commissioner of FDA in planning, organizing, directing, staffing, coordinating, controlling, and evaluating the agency’s scientific and medical regulatory activities in order to achieve the mission of FDA.

John R. Dyer, MPH, will take Dr. Woodcock position as the agency’s Deputy Commissioner for Operations and the Chief Operating Officer (COO). Mr. Dyer will concentrate on strengthening the management, business processes, and information technology of the agency. In addition, Mr. Dyer will work with the other Deputy Commissioners and the Chief of Staff to provide management leadership and oversight to FDA.

“With almost 24 percent of the products in the marketplace regulated by FDA it is imperative we apply and incorporate modern management tools and techniques to our regulatory decisions. Mr. Dyer’s deep experience in management is ideally suited to meet the emerging challenges and opportunities involved in protecting and promoting the health of the American public in the 21st century” said Dr. von Eschenbach.

Mr. Drier brings significant experience in Information Technology to this position. From 2001-2003, Mr. Dyer worked in the private sector for information technology and executive leadership companies. In his federal career from 1972 to 2000, Mr. Dyer held increasingly responsible executive positions with the Social Security Administration (SSA), including the Chief Information Officer and Principal Deputy Commissioner where he assisted the agency by leading the effort to automate and modernize systems and improve the level of customer service.

These appointments represent an important step by the agency in implementing Dr. Woodcock stated goal to transform the FDA into an information provider as well as a regulator.

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