Mary Lou Valdez joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as Associate Commissioner for International Programs on January 4, 2009. In close alignment with the FDA program centers and offices, OIP is the hub of the agency’s international activity. Ms. Valdez leads and manages OIP staff around the world, catalyzing FDA global engagement in collaboration with international health and regulatory partners, ministries of health and agriculture, other U.S. Government Agencies, industry, academia, multilateral organizations, and related stakeholders. In addition to FDA headquarters, OIP staff is strategically located in China (Beijing), Europe (Belgium and the United Kingdom), India (New Delhi), Latin America (San Jose, Costa Rica, and posts in Santiago, Chile, and Mexico City, Mexico).
Ms. Valdez has a Master of Science in Management from the University of Maryland University College, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Texas at El Paso. She is proficient in reading, writing and speaking Spanish.
Ms. Valdez came to the FDA after serving 18 years as Deputy Director of the Office of Global Health Affairs (OGHA) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), where she was extensively involved in international health diplomacy. As Deputy Director, Ms. Valdez led from August 2003 to December 2008 the development of U.S. policy positions on a wide range of complex public health issues, promulgated them within the governance processes of multilateral organizations, and conducted negotiations with other member governments that resulted in the successful acceptance of many of these positions within the larger international community.
Ms. Valdez has extensive experience in hands-on negotiations and diplomacy as a member of the U.S. government delegations in meetings of the governing bodies of multilateral organizations. These organizations include the World Health Organization Executive Board and the World Health Assembly, the Executive Board of the United Nations (UN) Children's Fund, the Pan American Health Organization's Executive Committee, Directing Council, and Pan American Sanitary Conference, the Health Committee of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, and UN special sessions and councils, including the UN Special Session for Children in 2002.