Robert Ball MD, MPH, ScM is Deputy Director, Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology (OSE), Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), FDA. Dr. Ball shares in the responsibilities for planning, managing, and directing the work of more than 250 OSE staff evaluating drug risks and promoting the safe use of drugs by the American people. From 2008 to June 2013, Dr. Ball served as the Director, Office of Biostatistics and Epidemiology (OBE), Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), FDA. In this role, Dr. Ball served as the principal advisor to the CBER director on all matters pertaining to statistical and epidemiological evaluation of regulated biological products, including vaccines, blood, cell, tissue, and gene therapies; provided overall leadership and scientific direction to approximately 90 multidisciplinary employees; and led a research program in statistics, epidemiology, benefit-risk assessment, and biomedical informatics. Dr. Ball also had responsibility for operation of CBER post-marketing safety programs for vaccines and blood in the FDA’s Sentinel Initiative and with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and led FDA’s monitoring of the safety of 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine. Dr. Ball began his FDA career in 1998 as a medical epidemiologist and was Chief, Vaccine Safety Branch, OBE, CBER from 2001 to 2007 where he oversaw the pharmacovigilance planning and evaluation of post-marketing safety for all vaccines licensed in the US.
He is an author of more than 100 scientific publications and has been an advisor to NASA and the World Health Organization. He retired from the US Public Health Service with the rank of Captain in 2008. Dr. Ball received his BS in Mathematics and MD from Georgetown University, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He interned at the US Naval Hospital Bethesda, completed his MPH and residency in Occupational Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and received the ScM degree in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Vaccine Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. Ball conducted research to improve the safety and efficiency of deep sea diving, and provided clinical care in the US and Philippines as a US Navy Diving Medical Officer.