The COPD Foundation and Alpha-1 Foundation support Robert Califf for new FDA commissioner

October 15, 2015

The COPD Foundation and Alpha-1 Foundation today issued a statement of support for Robert Califf, MD, as the new commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Califf, 63, joined the FDA as deputy commissioner in March after more than 30 years as a prominent cardiologist and medical researcher at Duke University. He is among the most cited medical authors in academia, with more than 1,200 journal articles.

"Dr. Califf will be a brilliant FDA director," said John Walsh, president and co-founder of both the COPD Foundation and the Alpha-1 Foundation.

"I worked with him on PCORI (the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute). He was an insightful, passionate, and innovative thinker," Walsh said. "I consider him a leader in the healthcare field and someone dedicated to advancing medicine, both within the respiratory sphere and for all disease states."

PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research, or CER, with an approach called Patient-Centered Outcomes Research that "addresses the questions and concerns most relevant to patients, and we involve patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders, along with researchers, throughout the process,” according to the PCORI website. PCORI was created as part of the Affordable Care Act as a private, not-for-profit corporation financed by tax dollars.

President Barack Obama nominated Califf in September to lead the FDA, which regulates consumer products ranging from drugs to cigarettes. The Senate must confirm his nomination. He currently oversees the FDA’s centers for drugs, devices and tobacco products.

He previously served on expert committees that advise the FDA and was considered for the commissioner’s job at least twice before — once under President George W. Bush and once earlier in the Obama administration.