Top Department Heads Step Down
Dr. Richard Besser
Dr. Frank Torti
In addition to Secretary Michael Leavitt stepping down as head of the Department of Health and Human Services, several other notable changes in top agency positions occurred on January 20.
Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach officially resigned as FDA commissioner. Dr. von Eschenbach served as NCI director from January 2002 until he was appointed to lead the FDA in September 2005. In a farewell message to employees, he stated, "The 3 years I have been at the agency have been a pivotal period—for in that time we have seen the increasingly rapid and radical changes resulting from both globalization of the marketplace and advancements in science and technology that are ushering in the molecular era of health care."
Dr. Frank Torti, the FDA's principal deputy commissioner and chief scientist, will serve as acting FDA commissioner until a replacement is appointed.
Also stepping down last Tuesday was the director of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding. She was replaced in an acting capacity by Dr. Richard Besser.