"The FDA Alumni Association is the official global network of former and current FDA employees, connecting and supporting alumni, the Agency, and the public health community"

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FDAAA Names Temple Scholarship in Memory of Jim Benson

FDAAA has decided to name its scholarship fund for students enrolled in the Temple University School of Pharmacy’s Quality Assurance/Regulatory Affairs graduate program in honor of Jim Benson, a founding member of the Board of FDAAA and FDA’s former Acting/Deputy Commissioner and CDRH Director. Jim recently passed away.

The FDAAA Centennial Scholarship Award was created in 2006 in honor of FDA’s centennial. The endowment created the first scholarship in the school’s QA/RA program.

At the time, FDAAA said it established the endowment not only to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Pure Food and Drugs Act but also to encourage academic training in regulatory and quality issues. FDAAA selected Temple after reviewing graduate programs of schools nationwide.

The fund will now be known as the James S. Benson FDAAA/FDA Centennial Scholarship Fund.

In 2006 donations to the fund came from pharmaceutical trade associations, including the PhRMA Foundation, drug firms, and FDAAA members.

Nancy Myers, chair of FDAAA. Urged current members who want to honor Jim Benson to donate to the fund.

“Jim was a highly regarded and admired member of the FDA and FDAAA communities and I can think of no better way to honor him than to name this program in his memory and for current FDAAA members to contribute to his memory,” she said. “The FDAAA Executive Committee believed that adding Jim’s name to the Temple award is a fitting recognition of his contributions to the FDA community and to FDAAAA.”

Joe Levitt, former chair of FDAAA, said naming of the scholarship fund for Jim was especially appropriate. “Jim was always a champion of education in his many years at the FDA. He began his career in the education division of radiological health. Plus, Jim was a driving force in the creation of the FDAAA/Temple Scholarship Fund by spearheading the fundraising efforts that created the initial endowment of the program.”

Jim’s wife Cynthia has been invited to attend the June 12 Spring Fling and to accept the honor in Jim’s memory. Cynthia is an FDA Alumna, having worked for several decades in CDRH.

Christopher Van Vessem, Assistant Dean For Development and Alumni Relations, Temple University School of Pharmacy, remarked, “I am sorry to hear that Jim passed away. What a fitting gesture to make on Jim's behalf.”

Temple University School of Pharmacy is a pioneer in providing advanced academic coursework in quality assurance and regulatory affairs, which refer to the quality practices and regulations governing the pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology, healthcare and consumer products, and related industries. The school was the first to create a master’s program in QA in 1968. In the 1990s, the school created the first academic certificate programs in drug development, clinical trial management, and medical device regulation.

Donations designated for the James S. Benson / FDA Centennial Scholarship Fund may be sent to:

Christopher Van Vessem
Director of Development
School of Pharmacy
Temple University
3307 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140

FDAAA Announces Officers and Board Members

The Food and Drug Administration Alumni Association (FDAAA), whose members consist of FDA alumni and current employees, has announced its leadership for 2018-2019.

The officers of the Association will be (asterisks mark new positions):

  • Chair: Nancy Myers
  • President: Ed Steele
  • * Vice President: Allen Sayler
  • Treasurer: Bryan Coleman
  • *Vice Chair: Robert Brackett
  • *Secretary: Marie Urban
  • General Counsel: Jessica O’Connell

The members of the FDAAA Board will be:

  • Deb Autor
  • Dennis Baker
  • Lisa Barclay
  • Robert Brackett
  • Cathy Carnevale
  • David Chesney
  • Anne Marie Finley
  • Nancy Myers
  • Fredda Shere-Valenti
  • Ed Steele
  • Marie Urban
  • Kathryn Zoon

The leadership was announced at the annual Spring Fling that FDAAA holds annually with the FDA to celebrate the collaboration between FDA and the Association.

Nancy Myers, re-elected as FDAAA chair, said: "The many dedicated leaders of this Association are committed to representing the former and current employees of FDA and to developing joint programs that advance the Agency's mission. We again look forward to an active and productive year."

FDAAA 2017 Annual Report with Activities and Pictures for the past year

2017 Annual Report

FDAAA Spring Luncheon Featuring Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D.


On April 20, 2018, over 40 FDA Alumni Association members spent a sunny Friday afternoon engaged in an informative discussion at the Jewel of India in Silver Spring with Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, the Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). As current and former employees enjoyed unlimited samosas and a wonderful buffet, Dr. Shuren discussed a wide array of topics, from the recently released Medical Device Safety Action Plan, digital health regulation, and his vision for the Center's new organizational structure. We are thankful that Dr. Shuren could take the time to engage in a substantive dialogue with our members.

FDAAA Sponsors FDA Fellows Session

For almost a decade FDAAA has sponsored an FDA history educational session for the FDA Fellows, a group of young professionals working at the agency, many of whom will become permanent employees. This year the panel was, from left, FDAAA members Wayne Pines, Nancy Myers, Andrea Chamblee, Brian Harvey and Coleen Klasmeier. Some of the Fellows actually joined FDAAA after the half day session, which also included a lecture from FDA historian Suzanne Junod and a presentation on FDA's budget by Steven Grossman of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA.

FDAAA Sponsors FDA Fellows Session

FDAAA's Winter Luncheon Featuring Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D.

On January 19, 2018, a glimmer of spring was in the air as a crowd of over 40 FDA Alumni Association members gathered in the sunny Terrace Dining Room at Mrs. K's Tollhouse restaurant in Silver Spring for an informative lunch with Dr. Peter Marks, the Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER). While enjoying a delicious buffet (that finished with amazing cookies), current and former employees from across the Agency enjoyed the informal setting in which Dr. Marks discussed a wide array of topics, from recent FDA approvals of CAR-T cell therapies, innovative new developments in the stem cell arena, and a preview of CBER priorities for 2018. We are grateful that Dr. Marks could take the time to spend with our members. Please stay tuned for future FDAAA events!

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West Coast Networking Event

FDAAA held its second annual West Coast Networking Event in early January during the 36th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. More than 30 FDA alumni and guests - triple the attendees from the previous year - gathered at the popular Hotel Zetta to reconnect with old colleagues and make new contacts. We look forward to having an equally successful event next year!

West Coast Networking Event West Coast Networking Event West Coast Networking Event West Coast Networking Event

Links to Recent FDAAA Events and Announcements

Recent FDAAA Events