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October 23, 2006

Media Inquiries:
Megan Moynahan, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:


Promotions in the Commissioned Corps Raise Ranks of Three FDA Senior Leaders

Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today congratulated three senior agency scientists and physicians on their promotions as members of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). Rear Admiral Linda Tollefson, D.V.M., M.P.H., was promoted to Rear Admiral, Upper Half (0-8, two-star), and Captains Paul J. Seligman, M.D., M.P.H. and Sandra L. Kweder, M.D., were each promoted to Rear Admiral, Lower Half (0-7, one-star).

"All of us at FDA take great pride in the recognition of the exceptional talents, expertise and achievements of these three colleagues, who serve the needs of our public at FDA as well as the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service," Dr. von Eschenbach said. "Their leadership in both organizations makes an important contribution to the protection and promotion of the public health in the United States."

Below are brief biographies of the three flag officers:

RADM Dr. Linda Tollefson is Assistant FDA Commissioner for Science. She directs FDA's Offices of Women's Health and Orphan Products Development, and chairs the Research in Human Subjects Committee, the FDA's Institutional Review Board. Prior to joining the Office of the Commissioner, Dr. Tollefson served as Deputy Director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at FDA. She earned the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1980 from the University of Illinois and a Master of Public Health degree from The Johns Hopkins University in 1984. Dr. Tollefson practiced veterinary medicine for three years in Michigan before pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship with the National Institutes of Health. RADM Tollefson is the author of numerous scientific articles and book chapters related to public health surveillance, food safety, and antimicrobial resistance. She has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including the USPHS Meritorious Service Medal and the Secretary's Award for Excellence in Public Service. In 2004, she was honored as the USPHS Commissioned Corps Veterinarian of the year.

RADM Dr. Paul J. Seligman is Associate Director for Safety Policy and Communication in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). He directs the program responsible for FDA's Drug Safety Board and the MedWatch Program, and plays a central role in safety and communications initiatives affecting regulated drugs. He previously directed drug surveillance, epidemiology and biostatistics and risk-focused programs as the Director of CDER's Office of Pharmacoepidemiology and Statistical Science. Prior to joining the FDA in July 2001, Dr. Seligman served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Studies at the Department of Energy and Chief of the Medical Section of the Surveillance Branch at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. RADM Seligman holds an M.D. degree from the University of California, Davis, an M.P.H. in industrial health from the University of Michigan, and a B.S. in chemistry from Yale University. He is board certified in internal medicine, occupational medicine, and public health and general preventive medicine.

RADM Dr. Sandra Kweder is Deputy Director of CDER's Office of New Drugs (OND). She is involved in all OND drug oversight activities and oversees the Pediatric and Maternal Health staff and the Study Endpoints and Labeling Development staff. Dr. Kweder joined the FDA in 1988 as a medical reviewer in the newly formed Division of Antiviral Drugs, and her FDA career since then has included leadership of the former Division of Postmarketing Surveillance and Epidemiology and of the Office of Antimicrobial Products. In addition, Dr. Kweder spent two years on sabbatical at Brown University as a clinical fellow in Obstetric and Consultative Medicine. She received her M.D. from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in 1984 and did her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. RADM Kweder practices clinical medicine, teaches at the National Naval Medical Center, and is an Associate Professor at the Uniformed Services University.

One of the seven uniformed services of the United States, the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service is a specialized career system designed to attract, develop, and retain health professionals who may be assigned to Federal, State or local agencies or international organizations. Their mission is protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the Nation.


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