Ex-FDA chief Califf to join Google offshoot Verily
On the heels of one recent high-profile departure, Google offshoot Verily Life Sciences announced this week former Food and Drug Administration head Dr. Robert Califf will join the company in an advisory role beginning June 5.
Califf wrote in a blog posted Wednesday that he plans to work with the company on "applying technological solutions to improve healthcare." Verily is a subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc.
The former FDA commissioner's new role coincides with his return to Duke University to serve as vice chancellor for health data science for Duke Health. Califf was the founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, a position he held prior to his appointment in January 2015 to serve in the number two position at FDA, deputy commissioner of medical products and tobacco.
That role made him the most likely candidate to succeed Dr. Margaret Hamburg when she announced in March 2015 that she was stepping down as FDA commissioner after six years. President Barack Obama nominated Califf to lead the agency that September, and was confirmed to the post in February 2016.
"After concluding what has been an amazing experience as FDA commissioner, I'm excited to turn to a new career with Verily and Duke University," Califf wrote. "Although we are in the midst of an explosion of capability in the worlds of computing and information, we are still learning how to translate this capacity into better health and healthcare. Bridging this gap has been a recurring theme of my career, and it's at the heart of what I hope to accomplish at both institutions."
At Duke, Califf will be directing the development of a new center for integrate health data science that will focus on research and innovation and increasing the university's presence in Sillicon Valley. To that end, Califf plans to also serve as an adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford University.
"My hope is that Silicon Valley and entrepreneurs nationwide will collaborate on building an environment capable of linking the more than 300 million people in the U.S. to information that helps them live healthy, productive lives," Califf wrote.
News of Califf's addition comes just one week after Verily announced the departure of former National Institute of Mental Health director Dr. Thomas Insel, who was head of the company's mental health research division since December 2015.
Califf served as FDA commissioner for 11 months before resigning his post last January with the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
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