President Donald Trump is expected to nominate Stephen Hahn, MD, to serve as the next Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner. The position was previously held by Scott Gottlieb, who stepped down earlier this year. Following Gottlieb’s departure, Ned Sharpless, MD, former director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), stepped in as acting FDA commissioner. Dr. Sharpless will resume his role at the NCI, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). His role as acting commissioner expired on Nov. 1 because he reached the 210-day limit that one may serve in an “acting” capacity. While awaiting Dr. Hahn’s confirmation, HHS announced that Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health, will assume the responsibilities of the commissioner.
Here are a few facts about Dr. Hahn.
Dr. Hahn works at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he serves as chief medical executive as well as a professor in the department of radiation oncology, division of radiation oncology. He previously served as the institute’s division head as well as the department chair of the department of radiation oncology. Prior to joining the Anderson Cancer Center, he worked in various capacities in the University of Pennsylvania’s department of radiation oncology.
He has been credited on many research papers, including as recently as this year. Some of his recent research has been published in Clinical Lung Cancer, Radiotherapy & Oncology, and the International Journal of Radiation Oncology.
Before entering the world of medicine, his first job was serving ice cream at Friendly’s. If he was following a different career path and was still a doctor, he would practice full-time patient care. If medicine was not his forte, he said, “I’d run a vineyard and winery” in a previous interview.
He’s been married to his wife, Loti, for more than 30 years and has four children, Chris, Rob, Emma, and Caroline. He once said that the worst advice he ever received was to never get married: “if I’d listened to that advice, I’d have missed spending my life with my best friend.”
He studied biology at Rice University in Houston and medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia. He completed two clinical residencies: internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco Hospitals; and radiation oncology, National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md.