The Commonwealth Fund today announced the election of Jane E. Henney, M.D., the first woman to head the Food and Drug Administration, to its board of directors. Dr. Henney, a prominent medical oncologist who served for two years as FDA commissioner, is a nationally recognized academic leader and public health administrator. She is currently a senior scholar at the Association of Academic Health Centers in Washington, D.C. "Jane Henney brings to the Fund a unique and varied background as a physician, medical researcher, and public health leader who will prove to be an invaluable asset to the Fund's board," said Charles A. Sanders, M.D., chairman of the Fund's board of directors. "Her keen insight on a broad range of medical and health issues will contribute greatly to the Fund's mission of improving quality and access to health care." As FDA Commissioner until January 2001, Dr. Henney won praise from industry groups and lawmakers for her efforts to implement reform legislation to streamline the approval process for new drugs and medical devices. Last year Dr. Henney was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and is an active member of several other professional societies. In 1999 she received the Excellence in Women's Health Award from the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. Before accepting the top job at the FDA in November 1998, Dr. Henney served as vice president for health services at the University of New Mexico, where she is a tenured professor on leave of absence. She was deputy commissioner for operations for the FDA from 1992 through 1994. Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. Henney held several positions at the University of Kansas, serving first as associate vice chancellor and acting director of the university's Mid America Cancer Center, then as interim dean of the School of Medicine-Kansas City, and finally as vice chancellor for health policy and programs. Dr. Henney has also worked at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, rising to the position of deputy director in 1980. "We are very fortunate to have Jane Henney join the board of The Commonwealth Fund," said Karen Davis, president of the Fund. "Dr. Henney's knowledge of the nation's major health policy issues, and her understanding of patients' and physicians' experiences with health care will enhance the Fund's efforts to help people become more informed about their health care and to improve care for vulnerable populations." Dr. Henney received a medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and an undergraduate degree in biology from Manchester College. A native of Woodburn, Indiana, Dr. Henney resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband Robert Graham, M.D., former president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.