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Former NYC Health Chief Likely to Be Named as FDA Leader

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Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, a former New York City health commissioner, is likely to be nominated this week as President Barack Obama's choice to lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The New York Times reports.

Hamburg, 53, would succeed Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, who led the agency from 2005 until last January. The Obama administration was also expected to name Baltimore's health commissioner, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, as Hamburg's chief deputy. Sharfstein led Obama's transition team for the FDA, the Times said.

Hamburg was appointed by former Mayor David N. Dinkins as acting city health commissioner in 1991 and became commissioner the following year. When former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani took office in 1994, she was asked to stay on the job. Under Hamburg's lead, a tuberculosis control program produced sharp declines in the incidence of the disease in New York, and child immunizations also rose, the paper reported.

Hamburg's selection was first reported Wednesday on the The Wall Street Journal's Web site, the Times said. "Peggy has a deep commitment to the public health and, while she appreciates the vital role of industry, will surely focus on what is best for the public," Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine, the medical arm of the National Academy of Sciences, told the Times.

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