Mary Lou Valdez joined the FDA as Associate Commissioner for International Programs on January 4, 2009. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Office of International Programs (OIP) is the focal point for the Agency's international efforts, in close alignment with FDA program Centers and Offices. Ms. Valdez leads, manages and coordinates OIP's 100+/- 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 other relevant stakeholders. In addition to FDA headquarters, OIP staff is strategically located in Belgium, China, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Ms. Valdez has the degree of 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 for 18 years in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), where she was extensively involved in international health diplomacy. As the Deputy Director of the Office of Global Health Affairs (OGHA), 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 also as a member of the U.S. government delegations to meetings of the governing bodies of multilateral organizations, including 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.