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…

In the spring of 2022, roughly 40 percent of infant formula was out of stock on store shelves. While the FDA shut down manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories, more than 39 tons of formula was “airlifted” by the U.S. military from European sources. 

The infant formula industry continues to be a challenge for the Food and Drug Administration. And the government still has concerns about formula contamination. The FDA told manufacturers two months ago to notify the agency if they identify salmonella or other bacteria in their products.

Last week, FDA Commissioner Robert Cardiff issued a letter “intended to assist industry in improving the microbiological safety of powdered infant formula.” The letter provided updates regarding the contamination prevention program to provide guidance to parents and manufacturers and detailed the history of the Abbott closure and amelioration. Officials said they are restructuring the food safety and regulatory program. 

The FDA’s goal is to improve “the FDA’s ability to conduct risk prioritization to deliver the highest public health benefit, including focuses on research, science, and innovation to underpin the agency’s regulatory mission. 

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 


Back to top