WASHINGTON: The Food and Drug Administration has appointed Sheila Dearybury Walcoff, an attorney, as associate commissioner for external relations.The position is the top-ranking communications job at the FDA. Walcoff will report directly to acting commissioner Lester Crawford and oversee the offices of Public Affairs, the Ombudsman, and Special Health Issues as well as the Advisory Committee Oversight and Management Staff. Peter Pitts previously held the position before stepping down in June to join MS&L. Walcoff joins the FDA from the DC-based law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw, where she counseled healthcare clients. She has also served as majority counsel for the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.