About FDA

About CDRH

The Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), helps ensure that medical devices are safe and effective as authorized by the 1976 Medical Device Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and helps reduce unnecessary exposure to radiation from medical, occupational, and consumer products as authorized by the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act of 1968.


"Ensure the health of the public throughout the Total Product Life Cycle (TPLC)."


"Promote and protect the health of the public by ensuring safety and effectiveness of medical devices and the safety of radiological products."


In a TPLC environment decisions rely on information from the entire product life cycle. This is achieved by:

  • Collaborating across the Center bringing knowledge and experience from each stage of the life cycle.
  • Ensuring that information and knowledge from all stages of the product life cycle are readily available and used to improve science-based regulations.
  • Utilizing information technology to enable rapid communication and sharing among product-centered teams.
  • Enhancing scientific decision-making through timely collaboration with internal and external experts.

CDRH Offices


Office of the Center Director (OCD)

OCD provides leadership and direction for all Center activities and is responsible for their evaluation and coordination. It provides advice and consultation on policy matters about medical device and radiological health activities to the Commissioner and other FDA officials, Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, other government agencies, the scientific and academic community, and representatives of the regulated industry. It supports the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) program and its management within the Center. OCD also manages the CDRH Medical Device Fellowship Program.

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Office of Compliance (OC)

OC is the enforcement hub of CDRH with responsibility for directing and evaluating field inspections of manufacturers of medical devices and radiological health products nationally and abroad. OC advises the Center Director and other FDA officials on legal, administrative, and regulatory programs and policies. It oversees the compliance and surveillance programs of the regulated industry and conducts field tests and inspections needed for regulatory purposes. OC also evaluates industry quality control and testing programs and advises the FDA field offices and CDRH regarding legal actions, case development, and contested case assistance. OC is responsible for the Establishment Registration, Medical Device Listing, Government-wide Quality Assurance, and Bioresearch Monitoring Programs. It trains Federal and State compliance personnel and advises manufacturers about the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its implementing regulations.

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Office of Device Evaluation (ODE)

ODE is the office responsible for review of marketing applications from the medical device industry. It plans, conducts, and coordinates Center actions regarding the approval, denial, and withdrawal of approval to market a medical device. ODE also reviews applications to conduct investigational clinical studies of unapproved medical devices under the Investigational Devices Exemptions. The data gathered in these clinical studies supports marketing applications. ODE reviews four types of marketing applications: Premarket Notification (or a 510(k) application), Premarket Approval (PMA), Product Development Protocol (PDP), and Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE). Most devices are cleared for marketing through the 510(k) process; PMA applies only to the highest risk and newly developed (class III) devices. ODE coordinates Center classification activities; reviews and initiates petitions for reclassification of devices; interacts with and provides support to the advisory panels which make recommendations on FDA actions regarding selected devices; and conducts continuing review, surveillance, and medical evaluation of device labeling and clinical experience.

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Office of Communication and Education (OCE)

OCE specializes in the areas of programbased communication, education, radiological health, mammography quality, and resolution of device user problems. Its audiences include the radiological health and device industry, health professionals, consumers, CDRH staff, and foreign governments. In support of Center programs, OCE provides expertise in communications technology and produces national and international teleconferences and educational videos; applies human factors theory to the design and labeling of devices to reduce use errors; conducts qualitative research studies for use in Center information programs for health professionals, consumers, and industry; operates a program to implement the Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992 and provides technical expertise in applying health physics procedures and radiation protection principles; provides technical assistance to medical device manufacturers, coordinates international activities, and provides information to consumers; develops regulations for medical devices and radiological health activities; and provides educational programs for Center employees.

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Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health (OIR)

OIR combines the functions of all the offices within CDRH into one organizational unit for cradle-to-grave regulation of in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs). It carries out this mission by combining the pre-market review responsibilities of ODE, the enforcement responsibilities of OC, and the post-market surveillance responsibilities of OSB. To support these regulatory responsibilities, OIR maintains strong ties to OSEL for technical assistance, OCE for communication and outreach assistance, and OMO for program management assistance.

OIR consists of a multidisciplinary group of scientists and other professionals who are collectively dedicated to promoting and protecting public health through clear and consistent regulation of IVDs by applying good scientific principles throughout the Total Product Life Cycle of the device. OIR has a dual charge to foster the rapid transfer of good new IVDs into the medical market while preventing marketing of unsafe or ineffective devices. The Office strives to ensure the work is transparent in order to allow all stakeholders to obtain the knowledge required to make informed decisions about the development, production, and use of IVDs. In addition, OIR administers the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) '88 complexity program for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by categorizing commercially marketed in vitro diagnostic tests by level of complexity.

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Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL)

OSEL, the laboratory research hub of CDRH, supports FDA's regulatory decisions with laboratory research in the areas of standards, technical consultation, forensic analysis, and applied research. It leads the development and evaluation of standards used for regulatory assessments. OSEL supports other Center offices when specific expertise is required for solving problems or reviewing 510(k) or PMA applications. It identifies and analyzes failures of marketed devices. OSEL conducts research in the areas of life, physical, and engineering sciences as they relate to the health effects of radiation and medical device technologies, e.g., studying the effects of electrical fields around consumer products on cell development. OSEL's research assists the regulatory programs of CDRH and FDA in anticipating the impact of technology on the use, safety, and effectiveness of regulated products.

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Office of Surveillance and Biometrics (OSB)

OSB develops and implements surveillance programs to assure that marketed products are safe and effective. It is the Center's source of expertise in the biometrics sciences and provides expert statistical consultation in the evaluation of premarket device applications. OSB administers a nationwide surveillance system to monitor and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of marketed devices by analyzing adverse-event reports. In collaboration with the other Center offices, OSB directs and monitors the analysis, resolution, and development of implementation strategies for postmarket issues through the Center's ad hoc process and postmarket safety notifications.

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Office of Management Operations (OMO)

OMO advises the Center Director on all management issues. It plans, develops, and implements cost effective Center management policies and programs concerning financial and human resource management, contract and grants management, ethics and program integrity, committee and conference management, occupational health and safety, and facilities. OMO develops and implements the Center's long-range, strategic, and operational plans; evaluates the effectiveness of Center programs; and designs administrative, scientific, and technical information systems to support Center programs. As the Center's electronic communications hub, OMO provides computer support services to the Center and web-based information to the public. Its library provides scientific information for Center staff, and the Freedom of Information (FOI) staff responds to public requests for information.

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Page Last Updated: 06/25/2014
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