Stephen Hahn, chief medical executive of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will be nominated as the next commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hahn had been the frontrunner for the top spot at the FDA.
Late Friday, President Donald Trump put forth Hahn’s name to take over the top spot of the nation’s regulatory agency as the permanent replacement for Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who retired earlier this year. Hahn’s name was announced on Nov. 1, which was a deadline established by the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. Had Trump not named a new full-time commissioner, a new interim commissioner would have had to been named. The Federal Vacancies Reform Act states that a person may not serve in an acting or interim capacity for longer than 210 days.
As a radiation oncologist, Hahn specializes in treating lung cancer and sarcoma and has authored 220 peer-reviewed original research articles, the White House said in its announcement. In his role as chief medical executive, Hahn has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the famed cancer center that includes managing more than 21,000 employees and a $5.2 billion operating budget. MD Anderson is also involved with the largest number of clinical trials in the United States, the White House said. Hahn was promoted to that role two years after joining MD Anderson as division head, department chair and professor of Radiation Oncology. Prior to MD Anderson, Hahn served as head of the radiation oncology department at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
While Hahn is well-respected, his tenure as chief medical executive of MD Anderson was briefly entangled in accusations of racial-profiling earlier this year following the termination of some Chinese-born researchers who were accused of research espionage at the behest of China. During an MD Anderson town hall meeting following the terminations, which were part of a broader concern regarding intellectual property theft, Hahn attempted to reassure employees that racial profiling is something that the leadership at MD Anderson abhors and would not stoop to using.