Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(7):1261-1263
Crawford Is Named Deputy Commissioner of the FDA
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson has announced that Lester M. Crawford, Jr., D.V.M., Ph.D., will serve as deputy commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Crawford will be the senior official at the FDA until a permanent commissioner of food and drugs is named. Crawford takes over from Bernard A. Schwetz, D.V.M., Ph.D., a career FDA executive who has served as acting principal deputy commissioner since January 21, 2001. “Lester Crawford has devoted his career to promoting safer products for the public, and he brings to the FDA valuable experience and leadership skills,” Secretary Thompson said. Crawford most recently served as head of the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg. He also served as administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service from 1987 to 1991, and as director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine from 1978 to 1980, and again from 1982 to 1985. He received a doctorate of veterinary medicine form Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Georgia, Athens. Dr. Schwetz will continue to work on public health and FDA issues within the agency.
2004 WONCA Meeting Will Be Held in Conjunction with AAFP Scientific Assembly
The 17th WONCA World Conference of Family Doctors will be held October 13–17, 2004 in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with the annual Scientific Assembly of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The theme of the World Conference is “Family Medicine-Caring for the World,” and the conference will feature plenary sessions, freestanding oral presentations, posters and workshops, and discussions of new avenues in family medicine, including high technology with hands-on computer training, current diagnosis and therapy of family practice problems, and the nuances of cross-cultural medicine. Among the many areas to be covered are infectious diseases; ethical issues; health policy; refugee, rural and frontier medicine; the doctor as patient; and common clinical problems found in all populations like heart disease, diabetes, mental health, and cancer. The registration fee will cover registration costs for both meetings and WONCA delegates will have access to all elements of the AAFP Scientific Assembly. The conference is expected to be the world's largest gathering of family physicians in history.
President's TANF Proposal Sends Welfare Reform to Next Level
President Bush's proposal to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program will give states additional resources to build stronger programs and help families achieve self-sufficiency, will allow states more flexibility in running these programs, and has a strong emphasis on the importance of working, according to the HHS. The President's proposal requires a 40-hour workweek by welfare recipients, an increase from the current 30 hours; however, there will be more flexibility as to what constitutes work, including education, job training, and substance abuse treatment. According to the HHS, the effectiveness and efficiency of major welfare programs, such as food stamps, housing, workforce programs, and adult education, will be improved by an expansion of the federal government's waiver authority in these programs. The proposal also maintains the current levels of the TANF block grant at $16.5 billion through 2007. This level of funding will allow states to help more families than before because the welfare caseload has decreased by 56 percent nationwide since 1996. Since the welfare reform bill was signed into law, the percentage of American families with incomes below the poverty level has dropped from 13.7 percent to 11.3 percent, and the percentage of children living in poverty fell from 20.5 percent to 16.2 percent.
Former South Carolina Governor to Head Rural Health Committee
HHS Secretary Thompson recently named former South Carolina Governor David M. Beasley chair of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health. The committee advises Secretary Thompson on health issues affecting rural communities. It discussed issues related to health care workforce and health care quality at its annual meeting in March. Beasley succeeds former Kansas Sen. Nancy Kassenbaum, who chaired the committee from 1999 to 2001. “I'm delighted to have Governor Beasley as chair of the National Advisory Committee,” Secretary Thompson said. “As former governors of states with large rural populations, Governor Beasley and I know how important it is for people outside urban centers to have access to quality health care.” During his tenure as the Republican Governor of South Carolina, Beasley doubled the number of primary care physicians working in underserved rural areas of the state, and oversaw dramatic coverage expansion for health insurance to low-income children through Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The committee, created in 1987, includes 16 nationally recognized rural health experts in the fields of medicine, nursing, administration, finance, law, research, business, and public health.
NRHA to Conduct 25th Annual Conference in Kansas City, Mo.
The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) will hold its 25th annual conference May 15-17, 2000 in Kansas City, Mo. The keynote session will feature President Bush who will be speaking on health care in rural America. In celebration of the NRHA's 25th anniversary, a panel of past NRHA presidents will discuss the history of the association through its various transformations. Registration and complete program and exhibit information about the conference are available on the association's Web site (www.nrharural.org/conf/main.html) or by telephoning 816-756-3140.