Janet Woodcock, MD
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Janet Woodcock, MD
Acting Commissioner
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Janet Woodcock began her long and distinguished FDA career in 1986 with the agency’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) as Director of the Division of Biological Investigational New Drugs, as well as serving for a period as CBER’s Acting Deputy Director.  She later became Director of the Office of Therapeutics Research and Review in CBER, a tenure which included the approval of the first biotechnology-based treatments for multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis.

In 1994, Dr. Woodcock was named Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), overseeing the center’s work that is the world’s gold standard for drug approval and safety. In that position, she has led many of the FDA’s groundbreaking drug initiatives, including introducing the concept of risk management as a new approach to drug safety; modernizing drug manufacturing and regulation through the Pharmaceutical Quality for the 21st Century Initiative; advancing medical discoveries from the laboratory to consumers more efficiently under the Critical Path Initiative; and launching the Safety First and Safe Use initiatives designed to improve drug safety management within and outside the FDA, respectively.

From 2004 -2007, Dr. Woodcock served as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer in the Office of the Commissioner. During that period she also served in other executive leadership positions, including Deputy Commissioner for Operations and Chief Operating Officer.

In 2007, Dr. Woodcock returned as Director of CDER, until last year, when she was asked to lend her expertise to “Operation Warp Speed” the initiative to develop therapeutics during the COVID-19 pandemic. From late 2020, she split her time advising “Operation Warp Speed” on advancing COVID-19 therapeutics while also serving as the Principal Medical Advisor to the Commissioner on key priorities on behalf of the Office of the Commissioner.

Dr. Woodcock was named Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs on January 20, 2021.Dr. Woodcock holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA), and a Doctor of Medicine from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University Medical School (Chicago). She also completed further training and a fellowship in rheumatology, as well as held teaching appointments at the Pennsylvania State University and the University of California in San Francisco. She is board certified in internal medicine.

Dr. Woodcock has been bestowed numerous honors over her distinguished public health career, most notably: a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices; the Ellen V. Sigal Advocacy Leadership Award in 2016 from Friends of Cancer Research; the Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award in 2017 from the National Consumers League; the 2019 Biotechnology Heritage Award from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization and Science History Institute; and the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award from NORD.  She is also an avid and accomplished gardener.

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