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WASHINGTON — Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg has a reputation for turning beleaguered government agencies around.

Named the youngest-ever health commissioner for New York City in 1992, at age 36, Hamburg helped slow the spread of AIDS, boosted childhood immunization rates, and reversed a crippling tuberculosis epidemic.


Seventeen years later, as commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, Hamburg inherited an agency battered by a series of drug scandals and food poisoning outbreaks. And although her tenure wasn’t without controversy, when she left last April, after a nearly six-year stint, she was widely seen as having cleaned up the FDA and laid the groundwork for speedier drug and device approvals, more oversight of tobacco products, and a modernized food safety system.

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