FDA Deputy Director shares insider’s view of the drug approval process at Harrington STEM Lecture

The spring 2022 Harrington STEM Lecture Series at SUNY New Paltz kicked off with a timely presentation from Acting Deputy Director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dr. Karen Hicks, who delved into the U.S. drug-approval process in a talk designed for general audiences.

While she was not involved with the approval process for COVID-19 vaccines, Hicks has extensive experience with the process for bringing potentially life-saving substances from research to market.

At a time of increased attention from the public on this important consumer protection oversight, Hicks helped New Paltz students and others in the audience understand important nuances, like the distinction between full and emergency use authorization.

Hicks also took time to respond to questions from those in attendance, some of which focused on pathways to careers in the FDA, and STEM careers in government more broadly.

She also spoke to how any career or academic background is a good fit for a candidate working at the FDA, as the agency hosts a variety of medical officers, social scientists and others with interests in science and medicine.

A cardiologist herself, Hicks shared that she has been able to continue practicing medicine while attending to her role in the FDA.

“I basically have figured out how to combine the best of all worlds in this in this job,” she said.


About the Harrington STEM Lecture Series

The School of Science & Engineering hosts Harrington Lectures on major topics of current scientific interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These lectures, each designed for a general scientific audience, are given by recognized scholars from around the country. The public is cordially invited to these lectures at no charge.

John Harrington was the founding dean of the SUNY New Paltz School of Science & Engineering. This lecture series honors his years of dedication to science, education and collaboration across the STEM disciplines.