I began my career in the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Tobacco Programs but quickly moved into the Office of Policy in the Office of the Commissioner. In this role, I was involved in a wide range of policy issues, including drug advertising, labeling and promotion, medical device user fees, tobacco regulations, and food safety.
My most memorable moments at FDA were the briefings we would do for the HHS Secretary, which required a few long days and quite a lot of teamwork. Luckily we had “all-star” caliber employees at FDA that made things work seamlessly. I was very young in my career then and, honestly, naive to how these types of activities would help prepare me for what was to come next in my career in terms of the level of preparation, required expertise and collaboration necessary to be successful.
One of the things I wanted to do after leaving FDA was to continue to be engaged in promoting and advancing the mission of the Agency. The FDAAA provides this in a direct way, as the organization is always seeking ways to work alongside FDA to find aligned activities where the alumni can help support FDA as it continues to do its great work.
As an FDAAA member, I thought I could help and do more in a leadership capacity, so I volunteered to serve as FDAAA’s Treasurer. In that role I have found a way to bring together my past work experience and educational background, including an MBA, to ensure that the organization’s financial outlook remains on stable footing.
When asked what’s the biggest challenge facing the FDA, I always think ‘when isn’t the FDA facing big challenges?’ True to form though, FDAers rise to the challenges they face and it is great that the FDAAA can be supportive of them. I think one big challenge is the recent retirements of knowledgeable and experienced FDAers, and perhaps more to come. While it creates a challenge, more importantly, it also presents an opportunity for the next great generation of FDAers to step in and shine.