Lawrence “Bopper” Deyton, M.D., ’85, to Join SMHS

Dr. Lawrence 'Bopper' Deyton posing for a portrait

The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is pleased to announce that Lawrence “Bopper” Deyton, M.D., ‘85, former director of the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will be joining the GW SMHS faculty as a clinical professor of medicine on March 4, 2013. He will also join the GW School of Public Health and Health Services as a professor of health policy.     

Dr. Deyton was appointed as the FDA’s first director of the CTP shortly after the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) in 2009. According to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., “his excitement, dedication, and passion for the public health quickly turned a legal statute into a landmark national tobacco product regulation program designed to reduce the impact of tobacco use on the nation’s health, especially among youth. His was a daunting task, but he did it with skill, determination, and success.”

Dr. Deyton will bring his passion for a healthier America to the next generation of physicians and health scientists at GW SMHS – ensuring they possess skills and experience that integrate medicine with public health, health policy and regulatory science. 

“I am honored to welcome Dr. Deyton to the faculty of SMHS. His experiences make him a preeminent voice on health issues faced by our nation which will give our students a first-hand perspective, as they learn about today’s health care landscape. In addition, his commitment to the community and humanism in medicine make him an ideal addition to our school, as his values align with our mission,” said Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D., dean of GW SMHS and vice president for health affairs at GW. 

“His breadth of knowledge and experience make Dr. Deyton a major asset to GW’s academic community,” said Alan Wasserman, M.D., Eugene Meyer Professor of Medicine and chair of the department of medicine at GW SMHS; and chair of the board of trustees for the GW Medical Faculty Associates. “We are thrilled that he will be joining the Department of Medicine and continue to deliver care to veterans at the Washington DC VA Medical Center as a faculty member, as he has done over the last 15 years.”

Dr. Deyton is known for his implementation and enforcement of the TCA, including its prohibition of marketing tobacco products to children and adolescents; its ban on misleading descriptors (“light,” “low,” “mild”); and the law’s requirement of full disclosure of tobacco product ingredients. These achievements, combined with the other provisions of the TCA, represent the most far-reaching public intervention in a generation and, will, in the words of CTP’s vision statement, help “to make tobacco-related death and disease part of America’s past, not America’s future, and, by doing so, ensure a healthier life for every family.”

Prior to joining FDA, Dr. Deyton was the chief public health and environmental hazards officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where he oversaw the VA’s public health programs. Dr. Deyton served for 11 years in leadership positions in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, six years in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and as a legislative aide with the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health and the Environment in the 1970s. Dr. Deyton was a founder of the Whitman Walker Clinic, a community based AIDS service organization in Washington, D.C., in 1978. In addition to being a graduate of the GW SMHS in 1985, he is also an alumnus of the University of Kansas and the Harvard School of Public Health. 

In 2011, Dr. Deyton was a finalist for the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for his outstanding contributions to the health, safety, and well-being of Americans.

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