Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., currently serves as president of Samaritan Health Initiatives Inc.; as a consultant at the Center for Health Transformation; and as an adjunct professor at Houston's University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, an institution world-renowned for the magnitude and excellence of its clinical and research programs.
In 2005, he was appointed acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, where he immediately engaged an agenda to modernize the agency. Confirmed by the Senate as commissioner in December 2006, von Eschenbach emphasized innovation by fostering creative projects, including the FDA's Critical Path Initiative, which was designed to bring modern tools of science to the product development process. He also launched the FDA's Food Protection Plan and focused on initiatives to nurture the workforce, such as an agency-wide fellowship program and development of a new integrated campus for the agency in White Oak, Md. Under his leadership, the FDA experienced dramatic increases in resources, enabling implementation of many new programs designed to strengthen the agency in its mission to protect and promote public health. He has emphasized the FDA's role in working with external partners to assure quality throughout the entire life cycle of the products it regulates while internally fostering a regulatory pathway that is transparent and efficient while still rigorous and science-led.
Dr. von Eschenbach joined the FDA after serving for four years as director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health, where he set an ambitious goal to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer by rapid acceleration and integration of the discovery-development-delivery continuum. While at NCI, he committed resources to ensure the application of nanotechnology, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and other emerging technologies to the field of oncology. At the time of his appointment by President Bush to serve as director of NCI, he was president-elect of the American Cancer Society.
Von Eschenbach entered government service after an outstanding career over three decades as a physician, surgeon, oncologist and executive. He has served as chairman of the Department of Urologic Oncology, executive vice president and chief academic at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. An internationally renowned cancer specialist and the author of more than 300 scientific articles and studies, von Eschenbach was one of the founding members of the National Dialogue on Cancer. In 2006, he was named to the "Time 100," the magazine's annual list of the world's most influential people; in both 2007 and 2008, he was selected as one of the Modern Healthcare/Modern Physician's "50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in Healthcare."
Dr. von Eschenbach earned a B.S. from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia and his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. After completing a residency in urologic surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, he was an instructor in urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed a fellowship in urologic oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.