Robert Califf, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration

Robert Califf

Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration 

Robert McKinnon Califf was born in 1951 in Anderson, South Carolina. He earned an undergraduate degree from Duke University and received his M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine. His internal medicine residency was at the University of California, San Diego. He is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiology, and a Master of the American College of Cardiology. 

He was a tenured professor of cardiology at Duke University School of Medicine and was the founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. 

In 2015, Califf was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Medical Products and Tobacco. Six months later, President Barack Obama nominated him to be FDA commissioner. He was confirmed by the Senate and assumed his position in February 2016. He stepped down in January 2017. 

Califf was again nominated to that post by President Joe Biden, confirmed by the Senate, and assumed office in February 2022. 

In the News…

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf received negative feedback from bipartisan members of a House subcommittee over the baby formula shortage. 

The FDA has come under scrutiny for its slow response to the crisis that has caused some desperation in parents of infants needing the formula. Members of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee criticized the commissioner for the failure of his agency to respond to early warning signs of health and safety violations at Abbott’s manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Michigan. The legislators also claim the FDA delayed its actions on reports last fall of infants becoming seriously ill after consuming some Abbott formula produced at that site. 

Commissioner Cardiff maintained that the agency began addressing the problems with Abbott last fall. The investigation is not over yet “because cronobacter is a very difficult organism to culture,” he said. “And we do have five cultures that are positive for different types of cronobacter from the Abbott plant. They just don’t match up, and so the plant definitely needed to be dealt with.” 

The Sturgis plant is set to reopen within the next couple of weeks after striking a legally binding deal with the FDA that, if approved by a federal court in Michigan, would allow Abbott to resume manufacturing powdered infant formula at that facility.  

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Commissioner Califf today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Dr. Robert Califf, Commissioner 
Food and Drug Administration 
10903 New Hampshire Avenue 
Silver Spring, MD 20993 


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