Oncologist Stephen Hahn Voted FDA Commissioner by United States Senate


The United States Senate has voted to confirm Stephen M. Hahn, MD, FASTRO, as commissioner of Food and Drugs, Department of Health and Human Services during a U.S. Senate floor proceeding held on Thursday, December 12, 2019, according to a press release from the HHS. The vote was 72 to 18.

Hahn will be the permanent replacement following former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who resigned earlier in 2019. Hahn’s role will precede that of acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, who served in the office for 2,010 days following Gottlieb’s resignation.

“Having a confirmed FDA Commissioner of Dr. Hahn’s caliber will be a major boost to the already rapid pace of the President’s aggressive public health agenda,” said Alex Azar, Heath and Human Services Secretary, in a statement. “Dr. Hahn brings an impressive set of scientific and leadership qualifications to the job, and I look forward to seeing the FDA and its people thrive under his leadership.”

Most recently, Hahn served as chief medical executive at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Additionally, in 2017, he was promoted to deputy president and chief operating officer, where he was responsible for day-to-day operations at MD Anderson and managed over 21,000 employees and a $5.2 billion operating budget to ensure excellence across the institution.

Two years prior to his promotion, Hahn joined Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson as the division head, department chair, and a professor in 2015. He previously served as chair of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine from 2005 to 2014.

Hahn specializes in the treatment of lung cancer and sarcoma, and his research primarily focuses on molecular causes in the tumor microenvironment, including aberrant signal transduction pathways, and the role of proton therapy to improve the efficacy of radiation therapy. He has received a number of awards and honors during his career for his work in oncology, and he has also published countless peer-reviewed articles, invited articles, and book chapters.

At Rice University in Houston, Texas, Hahn earned his degree in Biology, followed by a degree in Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His postgraduate training included a clinical internship at the University of California, San Francisco Hospitals; clinical residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco Hospitals; clinical fellowship in Medical Oncology in the Medicine Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI); and a clinical residency in Radiation Oncology at NCI.

“I congratulate Dr. Hahn and thank the Senate for prioritizing his nomination,” said Azar. “President Trump has chosen a superbly qualified leader for FDA, and Dr. Hahn garnered strong bipartisan support.”


Secretary Azar Statement on Confirmation of Stephen Hahn as FDA Commissioner [press release]. Washington, District of Columbia: Department of Health and Human Services; December 12, 2019. https://bit.ly/2Eichud. Accessed December 13, 2019.

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