Leading Candidate To Head FDA Won Support for Needle Exchange as NYC Health Commissioner, Wall Street Journal Reports
Former New York City Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is the Obama administration's leading candidate for FDA commissioner, sources familiar with the process said recently, the Wall Street Journal reports. While serving as New York City health commissioner, Hamburg gained praise for a needle-exchange program for injection drug users that aimed to curb the spread of HIV. She also said that science-based public health strategies and not "moral judgment" or "wishful thinking" should be the foundation for HIV/AIDS education aimed at young people. In addition, Hamburg opposed a "morality oath" put forth by the Board of Education in 1992 when New York City was considering abstinence-only sex education.
Hamburg also served as assistant HHS secretary during the Clinton administration and currently works at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. She also serves on the board of medical equipment wholesaler Henry Schein Inc. According to the Journal, Baltimore health chief Joshua Sharfstein is the leading candidate for FDA deputy commissioner. The Journal reports that the administration "wants to position the FDA commissioner as someone who will lead the agency back to its core mission of public health" (Mundy, Wall Street Journal, 3/11).