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News Release

Friday, Jan. 31, 2003

Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343


HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today named Bernard A. Schwetz, D.V.M, Ph.D, to be acting director of the HHS Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP).

OHRP leads the department's efforts to ensure the responsible conduct of research involving human subjects. The office monitors programs at more than 10,000 HHS-funded universities, hospitals and other medical and behavioral research institutions in the United States and abroad. These programs must meet the requirements of HHS regulations for the protection of human research subjects and comply with the assurances that the institutions must have approved by HHS as a prerequisite for funding.

"Dr. Schwetz will be a strong voice to ensure human subject protections are always the top consideration in human research decisions," Secretary Thompson said. "His proven leadership and extensive experience will help us continue to advance science and medical research for the good of all Americans."

As OHRP's Acting Director, Dr. Schwetz's priorities will include harmonizing the reporting of adverse events, an intensified focus on prevention to improve the quality of protections and strengthening communications with the research community, the public, and other interested groups. OHRP will seek ways to reduce the paperwork burden for institutions and Institutional Review Boards, and help educate the public about what constitutes quality human research protections.

Currently, Dr. Schwetz is the senior advisor for science at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is a Distinguished Scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park. From January 20, 2001, to February 22, 2002, he was the acting principal deputy commissioner of the FDA and before that served as the agency's acting deputy commissioner. Dr. Schwetz has served as senior advisor for science since September 1999. He was director of FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson, Ark., from 1993 to 1999. A Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and Honorary Diplomate of the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society, Dr. Schwetz was acting director of the Environmental Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) before coming to the FDA in 1993. He was also the associate director of the National Toxicology Program there.

In addition to numerous other awards during his career, Dr. Schwetz received the U.S. Government's 1998 Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the American College of Toxicology in 2000 and the Merit Award of the Society of Toxicology in 2002.

Dr. Schwetz will assume this position on February 3, 2003. He replaces Dr. Greg Koski, who stepped down as OHRP's first director on November 30, 2002.


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Last Revised: January 31, 2003