On February 5, 2015, it was announced that Commissioner Hamburg will resign as the head of the FDA at the end of March 2015.
Dr. Hamburg was nominated to her position by President Barack Obama and began serving as Commissioner of the FDA after her May 2009 Senate confirmation. Prior to her nomination, Dr. Hamburg served as New York City’s Commissioner of Health and worked for the National Institutes of Health.
The FDA faced many challenges during Dr. Hamburg’s tenure. These challenges included antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the Ebola outbreak, the debate over genetically modified organisms, the relaxation of requirements for obtaining Plan-B contraceptives, and several heavily-contested rulemaking rounds. Despite this, Dr. Hamburg said in an email to her staff at the FDA that she believed “the agency [is] well-positioned to fulfill its responsibilities to the American public with great success.”
Dr. Stephan Ostroff, currently the FDA’s chief scientist, will serve as Acting Commissioner until a new commissioner is nominated and confirmed. Dr. Ostroff is relatively new to the FDA, having only joined in 2013 as the Chief Medical Officer in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and Senior Public Health Advisor to FDA’s Foods and Veterinary Medicine. However, prior to working for the FDA, Dr. Ostroff worked at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as the Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Hamburg’s successor is unknown. Many speculate that she may be succeeded by Dr. Robert Califf, currently the FDA’s Deputy Director for Medical Products and Tobacco.