President George W. Bush announced Feb. 14 that he is nominating Dr. Lester M. Crawford Jr. to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Crawford has been acting commissioner of the FDA since March 2004 after Mark B. McClellan, MD, stepped down to head the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In a statement, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt called Dr. Crawford an "outstanding" choice for FDA commissioner.
"Dr. Crawford has dedicated his career to advancing the nation's public health and will lead the way as we enter a new era of individualized medicine and rapidly developing science," Leavitt said. "With Dr. Crawford's leadership, FDA will provide the world's safest drugs and empower citizens with the tools they need to make informed choices about their health."
The AVMA Board of Governors, which comprises the Executive Board chair, president, and president-elect, sent a letter to Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions supporting Dr. Crawford's nomination.
"Dr. Crawford has an exemplary record of public service and leadership to our country in public health, food safety, and regulatory medicine, and will bring to the commissioner's office invaluable experience and accomplishments in government, academia, and industry," the letter stated. At press time, no date had been set for Dr. Crawford's confirmation hearing.
Prior to joining the FDA as deputy commissioner in February 2002, Dr. Crawford led the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He previously oversaw the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, as well as the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Crawford is a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the United Kingdom's Royal Society of Medicine. In addition, Dr. Crawford has served as an adviser to the World Health Organization for nearly 20 years.
Dr. Crawford earned his DVM degree from Auburn University and his PhD degree in pharmacology from the University of Georgia. He is a former executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, executive vice president of the National Food Processors Association, and chairman of the University of Georgia's Department of Physiology-Pharmacology.