October 17, 2021

Women’s History Month: The FDA Spotlights Sharon Holston

sharon_holstonDuring Women’s History Month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is spotlighting the careers of food safety and public health pioneers such as Sharon Holston, the agency’s first equal employment officer for the Office of the Commissioner and moved up through a number of positions in the agency before retiring from her final post as Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs in 1994.

Under FDA’s long-term training program, she gained a master’s degree in Public Administration at the Harvard School of Government. After graduating, she returned to the agency and was later named Associate Commissioner for Management and Operations. In this role she helped to: create new guidelines for FDA criminal investigators, implement new generic drug regulations, and to establish the agency’s first user fee programs.

During her 34-year in public service, she received numerous awards and was twice honored with the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive. The first time by President George H. W. Bush, and the second time by President Bill Clinton.

Holston grew up in Cleveland, received her BA degree from Barnard College at Columbia University, and her MPA degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She and her husband co-own an art business and have two grown children.

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