Earlier today, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for nearly six years, announced, and the FDA confirmed, that she would be stepping down from her position at the agency in March. During her tenure as one of the longest-serving FDA commissioners in recent years, Dr. Hamburg oversaw a wide range of public health initiatives. As the New York Times points out:

“The FDA is an immense agency. Its officials like to say that it regulates about 20 cents on every dollar spent by American consumers, and its authority extends from drugs and food to medical devices and tobacco. Dr. Hamburg has grappled with some of the biggest public health issues of the day.”

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s chief scientist, has been named FDA Acting Commissioner, and will take over temporarily for Hamburg when she leaves her role in March. There is some speculation that Dr. Robert Califf, a cardiologist and researcher from Duke University who was recently appointed as FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco, may be a potential successor to Dr. Hamburg. However, the agency has not yet offered comments on Dr. Hamburg’s replacement.