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January 4, 2011

Report: Sharfstein to head Health and Mental Hygiene

The number two official at the Food and Drug Administration will join the O'Malley administration.

Josh Sharfstein, the agency's Principal Deputy Commissioner would lead the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, according to a source familiar with the transition. That bureaucracy is now headed by Secretary John M. Colmers. The news was first reported by CQ's John Reichard.

A spokesman for Colmers referred calls to the governor's office, as did Sharfstein. O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec said O'Malley is planning a press conference concerning DHMH in Annapolis Wednesday morning.

The state's health secretary oversees a $9 billion budget which includes the sprawling Medicaid program. The new secretary will have a significant role in implementing the Obama health care overhaul, an issue that O'Malley is prioritizing.

The change would bring Sharfstein much closer to home: The 41-year-old is a resident of Baltimore's Mount Washington neighborhood. Plus he's  familiar with Maryland politics -- before President Barack Obama tapped him for the FDA, Sharfstein was Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's health commissioner.

Most recently Sharfstein was the FDA's front man in its efforts to ban alcohol infused energy drinks like Four Loko. His name is frequently mentioned in the national press, where he's been closely associated with with the federal agency's new tougher stance on enforcement including recalls of pediatric medications and pistachios.

Posted by Annie Linskey at 9:20 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Administration, People, Washington


Number 2?
Md. Politics?
Sheila Dixon?
Four Loco?
and Bingo----pistachios?

You should never argue with a crazy mind
You oughta know by now
You can pay uncle sam with overtime
Is that all you get for your money?

billy joel

Well I guess it's important that we have an unelected official deciding what is best to eat...or not eat. Heck, us little folk can't protect ourselves from evil big business. Coming soon.....a "special" Tax on all salty foods. Socialism at its finest. Thank You Marty!

"Sharkstein was the FDA's front man..." gotta love that wording there XD

We are fortunate that Dr. Sharfstein is willing to return to Maryland. He certainly was one of the best Health Commissioners Baltimore ever had and I congratulate the
governor for choosing him for this important post.

That's good news! Sharfstein is a good man and it's nice to have him back in state.

Welcome Home Dr. Sharfstein!

Does anyone else think this is a little fishy, unless he just hated the commute? He stood to make enrodes on a national level, both personally and professionally. Why would he want to come back to MD and lose his national status?

In either case, he could be out of a job in a term (or less, if Obama loses the next term). Did I just solve this mystery myself? Lose your job in 2 years instead of 4?

Now get rid of Susan Tucker and John Folkemer and DHMH will be all set.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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