WASHINGTON, D.C., December 3, 2021 — The American Heart Association today sent a letter to Capitol Hill leaders voicing its strong support of Robert M. Califf, M.D. as President Biden’s nominee for Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. The letter, authored by American Heart Association Chief Executive Officer Nancy Brown and President Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, FACC, FAHA, is below.


Dear Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Chair Murray and Ranking Member Burr:

On behalf of the American Heart Association and its more than 40 million volunteers and supporters, we write to enthusiastically endorse Robert M. Califf, M.D. as President Joseph R. Biden’s nominee for Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We ask that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the full Senate vote to confirm Dr. Califf without delay.

The FDA Commissioner serves a central role in addressing critical public health priorities, including ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, reducing the harm from tobacco products, ensuring food safety and promoting good nutrition, and streamlining the process of drug and device development and review. Dr. Califf’s distinguished career in medicine and clinical research, combined with his previous experience as FDA Commissioner, makes him uniquely suited to lead the agency during this especially challenging time in our nation’s health.

Dr. Califf’s leadership experience has been honed through his prior FDA leadership roles—as the agency’s Commissioner, and as its Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco—and as founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. His institutional knowledge of the agency and clinical expertise will allow him to rise to the current public health threats immediately. As a cardiologist, Dr. Califf is particularly patient-centered and understands the agency’s central role in improving health. As a researcher, he understands the value of science and evidence-based policymaking. As a former public servant, he is an outstanding communicator and recognizes the importance of building trust among diverse individuals and communities. And as a world-renowned thought-leader, he has the strategic vision to modernize and strengthen the agency to meet the public health opportunities and challenges facing the agency and our nation today and tomorrow.

Throughout his career, Dr. Califf has been a relentless force in the fight against heart disease and stroke. He was a lead author of the American Heart Association’s 2020 call to action for addressing inequities in rural health, emphasizing the need for innovative approaches to improve rural health to equitably increase healthy life expectancy nationwide. He has also been a driving force behind the American Heart Association’s January 2021 commitment to address social determinants of health and the barriers to achieving health equity for all communities—urban, suburban and rural.

Dr. Califf is eminently qualified and ready to lead the FDA. His record demonstrates that he will support the agency’s critical efforts to promote public health and reduce the burden of chronic disease. We urge the Senate to act quickly and in a bipartisan manner to confirm Dr. Robert Califf as FDA Commissioner.




Nancy Brown                                                          Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, FACC, FAHA

Chief Executive Officer                                           President

American Heart Association                                   American Heart Association




About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   


For Media Inquiries:

Arielle Beer: 202.785.7902; arielle.beer@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org