Mary Lou Valdez joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as Associate Commissioner for International Programs on January 4, 2009. As of March 2019, she serves as the Associate Commissioner for Diplomacy and Partnerships within the Office of Global Policy and Strategy (OGPS).
The Office of Diplomacy and Partnerships (ODP) hones an effective, measurable strategy and portfolio that reflects the OGPS priorities of policy coherence, global partnerships, and high-quality information. In policy coherence, ODP advances FDA public health positions globally through catalytic action with a range of stakeholders. Through partnerships, ODP works to increase global appreciation and awareness of the intersections between strong regulatory systems and public health, economic development and trade, and the need for investments in regulatory systems strengthening. With quality information, ODP works across OGPS to ensure information is collected, analyzed and utilized to strengthen OGPS strategic direction and performance. Areas of emphasis include strategic planning, communication, knowledge and information, and strengthening regulatory systems and capacity.
Ms. Valdez came to the FDA after serving 18 years as Deputy Director of the Office of Global Health Affairs (OGHA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she was extensively involved in international health diplomacy. As OGHA Deputy Director, Ms. Valdez led from August 2003 to December 2008 the development of U.S. policy positions on a range of complex public health issues, promulgated them within the governance processes of multilateral organizations, and conducted negotiations with other governments that resulted in the successful acceptance of many of these positions within the larger global community. Since 2012, she has served as a Vice-Chair, Americas Region, for the Steering Committee in the WHO Member State Mechanism for Substandard and Falsified Medical Products.
Ms. Valdez has extensive experience as a member of the U.S. Government delegations for the governing bodies of multilateral organizations. These include the World Health Organization Executive Board and the World Health Assembly, the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organization, the Health Committee of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, and UN special sessions and councils. She led the U.S. Delegation to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization/WHO/African Union International Food Safety Conference (February 2019).
Ms. Valdez has a 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.