Stephen Hahn
Stephen M. Hahn official photo.jpg
24th Commissioner of Food and Drugs
Assumed office
December 17, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byScott Gottlieb
Personal details
Born (1960-01-22) January 22, 1960 (age 60)
EducationRice University (BA)
Temple University (MD)

Stephen Michael Hahn (born January 22, 1960) is an American physician who has served as the Commissioner of Food and Drugs since December 2019. Before becoming Commissioner, he was a radiation oncologist serving as Chief Medical Executive of the MD Anderson Cancer Center.


Hahn received a BA in Biology from Rice University in 1980, and an MD from Temple University in 1984.[1] After graduating from medical school, Hahn completed an internal medicine residency at the University of San Francisco School of Medicine where he eventually served as chief resident before embarking on a fellowship in medical oncology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).[2]


After completing his fellowship, Hahn worked as a medical oncologist in Santa Rosa, California.[3] He was then recruited by his mentor, Dr. Eli J. Glatstein[4] to complete a separate residency in radiation oncology at the NIH between 1991 and 1994, where he eventually attained the rank of commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps between 1989–1995. During the period of 1993–1999, he served as chief of NCI's Prostate Cancer Clinic in the Clinical Pharmacology Branch.[3]

In 1996, Hahn joined the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as a radiation and medical oncologist as well as a researcher funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As eventual Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Penn and Principal Investigator of National Cancer Institute grants, Hahn led the expansion of the Department's research base.[3] In 2013, he was awarded status as a fellow in the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)[5]. He then held the Department of Radiation Oncology's fourth endowed Henry Pancoast Professorship as Department Chair until 2014.[1] During that time, Hahn assisted with the Department's scandal involving brachytherapy at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Philadelphia[6], which was staffed with University of Pennsylvania faculty, all while securing increased research funding during a transition period in 2007-08 into the new Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine Robert's Proton Center, which remains the largest proton therapy center associated with a university teaching hospital in the world.[7] Hahn remains Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, and Radiation Oncology.

In 2015, Hahn became the chair of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he oversaw the Departments of Clinical Radiation Oncology, Radiation Physics, and Radiation Biology.[8] In 2018, Hahn was appointed as the Chief Medical Executive of MD Anderson Cancer Center. During this period as an active clinician, Hahn specialized in treating thoracic, sarcomatous, and genitourinary cancers, as well as the use of photodynamic therapy for the treatment of pre-invasive and invasive malignancies.[9]

U.S. Commissioner of Food and Drugs

Hahn being sworn in on December 17, 2019
Hahn speaks to the White House press corps on the COVID-19 pandemic on April 24, 2020

On November 1, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Hahn to be Commissioner of Food and Drugs Administration .[10][11][12] On December 3, 2019, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee voted 18 to 5 in favor of Dr. Hahn leading the FDA.[13] On December 12, 2019, the United States Senate confirmed his nomination by a 72–18 vote.[14] Hahn was sworn in on December 17, 2019.[15]

As Commissioner, within a week of passage of the 2020 United States federal budget, he quickly and unexpectedly changed the smoking age in the United States from 18 to 21.[16]

Hahn has factored prominently in the Trump administration's attempts to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the US, although the FDA under his administration has also been criticized for a lethargic response to the rapidly emerging outbreak in the United States.[17]

On March 1, 2020, Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the addition of Hahn to the White House Coronavirus Taskforce.[18]

In April 2020, Hahn instructed Federal Emergency Management Administrator Peter Gaynor "to distribute hydroxychloroquine to pharmacies nationwide, even though [an Emergency Use Authorization issued by the FDA] did not provide for outpatient use of the drug," according to a whistleblower complaint filed by HHS infectious disease expert Rick Bright.[19] Hydroxychloroquine was later linked to multiple deaths of covid-19 patients.[20]


Hahn is a long-standing member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Hahn is also an active member of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, The Radiation Research Society, The American Society of Photobiology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the University's John Morgan Society.[3] Hahn serves on the Board of Directors of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Personal life

Hahn has been married for more than 30 years and has four children.[8]


  1. ^ "Stephen M. Hahn, M.D." The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  2. ^ "Dr. Stephen M. Hahn - Radiation Oncology - Houston, TX". Castle Connolly. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  3. ^ a b c d "Stephen Hahn: Pancoast Professor of Radiation Oncology". University of Pennsylvania Almanac. 52 (4). September 20, 2005.
  4. ^ "Dr. Eli Glatstein's Deep Impact on Radiation Oncology and Trainees". Medscape. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  5. ^ "Fellow Recipients - American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) - American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)". ASTRO. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  6. ^ Bogdanich, Walt (2009-06-20). "At V.A. Hospital, a Rogue Cancer Unit". New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  7. ^ "Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine", Wikipedia, 2020-05-03, retrieved 2020-05-13
  8. ^ a b Harvey, Laura (2017-10-31). "Getting to know Stephen Hahn, M.D." Messenger. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  9. ^ "Introduction to Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) | OncoLink". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  10. ^ Burton, Thomas M.; Restuccia, Andrew (November 1, 2019). "Trump Will Tap Texas Doctor to Lead FDA". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  11. ^ McGinley, Laurie (November 1, 2019). "Trump announces plan to nominate Texas cancer doctor to run FDA". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  12. ^ Thomas, Katie (November 1, 2019). "Trump to Nominate Stephen Hahn, Cancer Researcher, to Head F.D.A." The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  13. ^ Kaplan, Sheila (2019-12-03). "F.D.A. Nominee Clears Senate Panel". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  14. ^ Kaplan, Sheila (December 12, 2019). "Senate Confirms Stephen Hahn to Head F.D.A." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  15. ^ Wang, Beth (December 17, 2019). "Hahn Officially Sworn In As FDA Chief On Dec. 17, Vows To Uphold Sound Data". Inside Health Policy. Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  16. ^ Bote, Joshua (December 27, 2019). "FDA officially raises federal minimum age to purchase all tobacco products from 18 to 21". USA Today. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  17. ^ Fink, Sheri; Baker, Mike (March 10, 2020). "'It's Just Everywhere Already': How Delays in Testing Set Back the U.S. Coronavirus Response". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  18. ^ "Vice President Pence and Secretary Azar Add Key Administration Officials to the Coronavirus Task Force". The White House. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  19. ^ "Whistleblower complaint of Rick Bright" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Drug promoted by Trump as coronavirus 'game changer' increasingly linked to deaths". Washington Post.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Brett Giroir
Commissioner of Food and Drugs

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