The Food and Drug Administration has announced a pair of new additions to its team handling tobacco-related regulation and issues.

This morning Dr. Margaret Hamburg, M.D. appointed Robert Califf, M.D., a recognized global leader in cardiology, clinical research, and medical economics, as FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco. Dr. Califf will provide executive leadership to the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health and the Center for Tobacco Products.

Among Dr. Califf’s responsibilities will be providing high-level advice and policy direction on the agency’s medical product and tobacco priorities.

Dr. Califf is currently serving as vice chancellor of clinical and translational research at Duke University and will join FDA in late February.

Additionally, the FDA announced that Ella Yeargin will be the Center for Tobacco Policy’s new Ombudsman beginning January 26, 2015. Yeargin began her federal career as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2011, working as a member of CTP’s FOIA team, then served in CTP’s Ombudsman’s office from 2012 to 2014, where she spent eight months as acting Ombudsman. Since November, she has served as a regulatory counsel in CTP’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE).

The CTP Ombudsman responds to inquiries and looks into complaints from the tobacco industry, law firms or consultants representing industry, advocacy groups, public and private research institutions, health care providers, and consumers; facilitates the resolution of disputes between CTP and outside parties; and provides general information on the regulatory process. While providing this assistance, the Ombudsman maintains independence, impartiality and neutrality.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.