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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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FDA Veterinarian Newsletter January/February 1999 Volume XIV, No I

On November 30, 1998, Jane E. Henney, M.D. assumed the position of Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Prior to assuming this position, Dr. Henney was the Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of New Mexico (UNM). As UNM's first Vice President for Health Sciences, Dr. Henney spearheaded the successful consolidation of the University's hospitals, schools of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy, and specialized facilities for mental health, cancer, and pediatrics into the Health Sciences Center.

Before coming to UNM, Dr. Henney was Deputy Commissioner for Operations at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 1992 to 1994, where she played a key role in reform efforts. As Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Henney revitalized FDA's Centers for biologics, drugs, medical devices, foods, veterinary medicine, and toxicological research to make them more effective and efficient and to more closely align their research and review functions. In addition, she developed a strategic planning process, and recruited new leadership for five of the Agency's six Centers.

At Kansas University from 1985 to 1992, Dr. Henney provided strong leadership as Interim Dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City; Vice Chancellor for Health Programs and Policy; and Acting Director for the University of Kansas Mid American Cancer Center.

From 1976 to 1985, Dr. Henney was at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health. She rose from a Senior Investigator in the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program in the Division of Cancer Treatment to the position of NCI Deputy Director.

Dr. Henney graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1973, and took an internship in Indianapolis and a medical residency in Atlanta. Dr. Henney's fellowship training was at the M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston, Texas.

Before becoming FDA Commissioner, Dr. Henney was the President of the United States Pharmacopeia. She is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Council for Excellence in Government. Dr. Henney has authored or co-authored more than 40 scientific papers and book chapters. She has received numerous awards, including the Public Health Service Commendation Medal.

In an address to FDA employees on the day she assumed her position, Dr. Henney said "...I was honored to be nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate to be the Commissioner of FDA and feel extremely privileged to return to work with people I know who are smart, hard working, and dedicated to issues critical to the public health."

She stated that she expected and intended that the Agency "will be led by two elements critical to our success -- science and the law. Whether the issue is one of new policy direction or enforcement actions, our decision and investments will need to be driven by the evidence of science and the legal framework provided by our statutes."

Dr. Henney listed her priorities for the Agency, which are to implement the letter and spirit of the FDA Modernization Act; to strengthen the science base of the Agency; and to work diligently on the administration's initiatives with regard to the safety of the nation's blood supply, food supply, and tobacco. She concluded her address by saying, "I, like you, enjoy working hard. I know the work of the Agency is often times difficult, but it is also meaningful -- not only for ourselves -- but for the public that we serve."