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Amy Abernethy, the number two official at the Food and Drug Administration, plans to depart the agency in mid-to-late April.

The announcement was made in a memo from Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, who called Abernethy “a talented and inspiring leader” and said she takes heart in Abernethy’s “enduring accomplishments.”


In an exclusive interview, Abernethy, 52, told STAT she believes she has laid the groundwork for long-lasting changes in the way that the FDA uses information technology, reframing the way the FDA uses data. Now, she said, she believes she can make a bigger impact on data science in medicine by working elsewhere, potentially in industry. She also said she believes Woodcock should be the next FDA commissioner. “This is a lot of work that is going to keep continuing for years,” Abernethy said. “But now the pathways are all set.”

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