“It makes me proud to know that we play a role in advancing patient treatment options and ultimately, we have a large impact on society.”--Ariel Ash-Shakoor, PhD, Center for Devices and Radiological Health
Q1: How did your career begin at FDA?
Ariel Ash-Shakoor: Technically, my career and interest in FDA began in my senior year of college when I interned in the Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL) where I worked on research related to drug eluting stents and drug coated balloons. After completing my degree, I continued as an intern fellow in OSEL for one year. After this gap year, I went to graduate school to complete my Ph.D. and upon earning this degree, I returned to the FDA to work on the review teams in the Office of Cardiovascular devices in the Office of Product Evaluation and Quality (OPEQ). I have been in this role for almost 6 years now. As a part of my role, I review regulatory pre-market submissions for interventional cardiovascular devices and post-market adverse event reports. I review engineering test reports, software testing, and lead projects to approve devices or clinical trials. In addition to my primary responsibilities, I have been on the Center of Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B) council for the past 2.5 years and previously led the OPEQ DEI&B committee for 2 years.
Q2: What do you value most about working at FDA?
AA: I value the mission of FDA in keeping patient safety first while also being a critical part of the healthcare ecosystem to bring new innovative devices to the market.
Q3: What are you most proud of in terms of your work at FDA?
AA: I am most proud of my work on the health equity strategic priority teams, helping with patient engagement town halls, and approving submissions to bring new safe and effective devices to patients. At the patient engagement town halls, we can learn from patients and caregivers to improve our regulatory practices. It makes me proud to know that we play a role in advancing patient treatment options and ultimately, we have a large impact on society.
Q4: What advice would you give to an FDA job seeker?
AA: I would recommend reaching out to someone at FDA prior to applying to learn more about the role that you are interested in and to make a connection through networking. There are a lot of tips and tricks with applying online for government jobs. Also, I would recommend researching best practices for applying online and to ask your new connection at FDA for any advice with the application and interview process.
Q5: When you're not at work, what is your favorite way to unwind?
AA: My most favorite ways to unwind when I'm not at work are running, road biking, and other exercise activities with friends and local fitness clubs. I also enjoy reading, blogging, and crafting.