FDA DEPUTY CDMMISSIONER JOHN NORRIS WILL PROVIDE POLICY CONTINUITY
FDA DEPUTY CDMMISSIONER JOHN NORRIS WILL PROVIDE POLICY CONTINUITY at the top management level of the agency if and when FDA Com. Young moves up to a post at HHS. Norris, who according to a May 15 FDA press release will assume the deputy commissioner job on June 3, is a long time associate of Young's dating back to the Commissioner's former position as dean of the University of Rochester Medical School. He has served as a consultant to FDA since Young became commissioner last summer. The appointment of Norris ties up one of the remaining loose ends which has held up Young's anticipated move to HHS as Asst. Secty. for Health. The Deputy Commissioner slot has been vacant since January, when Mark Novitch, MD, a longtime FDA official, accepted a position with Upjohn. Heckler wants to settle on a new FDA Commissioner before moving Young to the department level job. The leading candidate to replace Young is said to be VA Medicine & Surgery Dept. medical director David Worthen, MD. Norris breaks two traditions associated with the FDA Deputy Commissioner job. As a lawyer, his background differs from the medical/scientific background of previous deputy commissioners. Secondly, while he has served as a consultant to the agency since Young became commissioner last summer, he does not have the long insider experience which former deputy commissioners like Novitch and Sherwin Gardner brought to the job. As a consultant to the agency, Norris has been involved in the development of Young's "action plan" for FDA. The document, intended to serve as a guideline for future FDA policy, is expected to be released soon. As deputy commissioner, Norris will be in a good position to help a new commissioner in the implementation of the action plan developed under Young. Since early this year, an FDA press release notes, Norris has also been "a member of Secretary Heckler's commission on the evaluation of pain. . .established by Congress to study the effects of pain in determining eligibility for social security or supplemental security income disability benefits." Commenting on Norris' appointment as Deputy, Young said his role, "like that of Dr. Novitch, will be that of Chief Operating Officer of FDA, the federal government's oldest consumer agency and one which has a regulatory impact on products, foods, drugs, cosmetics, medical and radiological devices, and veterinary medicines, representing .25 out of every dollar that consumers spend." Norris received his BA in econornics and political science from the University of Rochester. He has a masters in business administration from Cornell. Norris also has a law degree from Cornell Law School, where he was editor and chief of the Internatl. Law Review, The release notes that "founder and faculty editor and chief emeritus of the Ameican journal of Law and Medicine, Norris was the 1981 recipient of the honorary life membership award of the American Society of Law and Medicine."
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