Google parent Alphabet has hired former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf to oversee strategy for two of the company's health divisions.
Califf will serve as head of strategy and policy for Google Health and Verily Life Sciences, according to a blog post from Duke Forge, a health data science center at Duke University. Califf will step down from his role as Duke Forge's director in November to accept the full-time position at Alphabet.
Since 2017, Califf has split his time between roles at Duke and serving on Verily's senior management team.
Alphabet confirmed the new full-time appointment to Modern Healthcare. CNBC first reported the news Monday.
Califf's leadership appointment at Google Health and Verily follows a recent restructuring of Alphabet's health efforts.
Earlier this month, the company announced that DeepMind, Alphabet's artificial-intelligence arm, had joined the Google Health division. Google Health, led by former Geisinger CEO Dr. David Feinberg, encompasses many of Alphabet's health efforts, including its research on using AI to diagnose diseases—including cancer—and to predict patient outcomes.
Verily Life Sciences, a research subsidiary of Alphabet, is also studying the potential for technologies like AI, precision medicine and wearables to improve health outcomes.
Alphabet's healthcare work hasn't been without controversy.
This summer a former UChicago Medicine patient sued the health system over its sharing thousands of medical records with Google for a research project on predicting patient outcomes, claiming that the health system had not properly de-identified patients' data. Google and UChicago Medicine have said they followed regulations, such as HIPAA, in handling the data.
Califf served as FDA commissioner from 2016 to 2017 during the Obama administration. He will remain on faculty at Duke University as an adjunct professor in the Duke University School of Medicine.