Veterinarian takes reins at FDA

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Dr. Bernard A. Schwetz
Dr. Bernard A. Schwetz

Dr. Bernard A. Schwetz became the acting principal deputy commissioner of the FDA following the January resignation of Jane Henney, PhD.

Dr. Schwetz is expected to continue as acting head of the agency until Health and Human Service Secretary Tommy Thompson names a successor who is then approved by the Senate.

Since joining the FDA in 1993, Dr. Schwetz has served in various capacities, beginning as director of the National Center for Toxicological Research. In September 1999, he became senior adviser for science while also being appointed acting deputy commissioner. Dr. Schwetz held the senior adviser position until June the following year.

Prior to the FDA, Dr. Schwetz was acting director of the environmental toxicology program at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina. He was also associate director of the national toxicology program there.

Dr. Schwetz graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1967 and is now adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

From 1986-1992 he was editor of Fundamental and Applied Toxicology; he currently sits on editorial advisory boards for Environmental Health Perspectives and Critical Reviews in Toxicology.

Dr. Schwetz is a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and an honorary member of the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society, as well as an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.

Also at the FDA, Dr. Linda Tollefson was named the deputy director of the agency's Center for Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Stephen F. Sundlof remains CVM director. Dr. Tollefson replaces Dr. Andrew Beaulieu, who is now associate director for animal health policy and operations in the CVM. In his new role, Dr. Beaulieu will be dealing primarily with issues relating to animal health, including products intended for minor uses or minor species.

Dr. Tollefson has been director of the CVM's Office of Surveillance Compliance since 1997, and co-founded the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System.

It was also announced that Dr. Sharon R. Thompson has been appointed the Health Department liaison to the Joint Institute for Food Safety Research.

Dr. Thompson will serve as a senior-level consultant to the executive director of the institute, providing information about federal research agencies and food safety, with particular emphasis on the needs and concerns of the various HHS agencies.

Previously she was associate director for veterinary medicine and international affairs in the Office of the Director, FDA-CVM.