U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford announced the appointment of Rear Admiral Linda R. Tollefson to the position of assistant commissioner for Science. Most recently, Tollefson served as deputy director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). In her new position, she will also serve as coordinator for Commissioned Corps Affairs at FDA and direct FDA's offices of Women's Health and Orphan Products Development.
"Tollefson has given exemplary service to FDA for 21 years in a variety of key positions. Science underpins all of FDA's decisions, and with her many years of experience as a manager and scientist at FDA, Tollefson is the best choice to help lead FDA's key office for science," said Crawford. "In addition, FDA's Commissioned Corps is in the midst of transformation and will become an even more significant part of FDA in the coming years."
As deputy director of the CVM, Tollefson led CVM's efforts to implement a risk-based approach to address antimicrobial resistance, fulfilling a 2001 congressional mandate, and was instrumental in the founding of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria. She also served as chief of Epidemiology in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, where she successfully investigated numerous outbreaks of food borne disease and served as liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tollefson earned a bachelor of science degree and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Illinois and a masters of public health degree from The Johns Hopkins University. She has authored numerous scientific articles and book chapters concerning the epidemiology of food borne disease and public health surveillance. She has received many Public Health Service honors and awards, including the Meritorious Service, the Outstanding Service, and the Commendation Medals, for her leadership in the Commissioned Corps.