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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Advisory Committees

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Questions and Answers Regarding Advisory Committee Membership

What is an FDA Advisory Committee?

Advisory committees provide FDA with independent advice from outside experts on issues related to human drugs, biological products, medical devices, and food. In general, advisory committees include a Chair, several members, plus a consumer, industry and sometimes a patient representative. Additional experts with special knowledge may be added for individual meetings as needed. Although the committees provide advice to the Agency, final decisions are made by FDA.

 

How does an individual become a member of an FDA advisory committee?

Nominations for scientific members, consumer, and industry representatives originate from professional societies, industry, consumer and patient advocacy groups, the individual himself or other interested persons.

 

What are the qualifications of an advisory committee member?

Persons nominated as scientific members must be technically qualified experts in their field (e.g., clinical medicine, engineering, biological and physical sciences, biostatistics, and food sciences) and have experience interpreting complex data. Candidates must be able to analyze detailed scientific data and understand its public health significance.

 

For example, persons nominated for the Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Toxicology Devices Panel in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health should be doctors of medicine or philosophy with experience in clinical chemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical pathology, clinical laboratory medicine, endocrinology, or oncology. Persons nominated for the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research should be knowledgeable in risk communication, risk management, drug safety, and medical, behavioral, and biological sciences as they apply to risk management, and drug abuse.

 

Can health professionals serve as consumer representatives?

Yes. Any person can serve as a consumer representative if he or she can represent interested consumers and consumer organizations. Consumer representatives who have served in the past have included consumer advocates, college professors, consumer lawyers, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, microbiologists, and engineers. A consumer representative should be able to analyze scientific data, understand research design, discuss benefits and risks, and evaluate the safety and efficacy of products under review, but from the consumer perspective.

 

Where are the advisory committee meetings held?

Most meetings are held in the Washington, D.C., area.

 

Are advisory committee members paid?

Most members are appointed as Special Government Employees and receive a salary for each meeting day as well as travel and per diem costs.

 

How often are advisory committee meetings held?

Generally, each committee meets 1 to 4 times per year.

 

How long is the advisory committee member term?

Members serve terms of up to 4 years.

 

When are nominations due to FDA?

Nominations are generally accepted on a continuing basis. Members of an advisory committee serve overlapping 4-year terms and new vacancies become available throughout each year.

  

How do I nominate myself or a colleague?

Any interested person may nominate one or more qualified persons for membership on FDA's advisory committees. Self-nominations are also accepted. Nominations of qualified individuals must include:

  • Complete curriculum vitae of each nominee
  • A written confirmation that the nominee is aware of the nomination (unless self nominated)
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation 
  • For Consumer Representative applications, include a cover letter that lists consumer or community organizations for which the nominee can demonstrate active participation.
      

 

Does a candidate have to provide information on potential conflicts of interest?

Potential candidates are asked to provide detailed information concerning such matters as financial holdings, employment, and research grants and/or contracts in order to permit evaluation of possible sources of conflict of interest.  For more information view the presentation slides on conflicts of interest.
 

Where to Apply

You may submit your information by logging into the FDA Advisory Committee Membership Nomination Portal:

 

Apply for Membership