HRSA's Pedley Elevated to Admiral

Krista Pedley – the longtime director of HRSA's 340B Drug Pricing Program
Krista Pedley – the longtime director of HRSA's 340B Drug Pricing Program – was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service at a ceremony on Friday at HRSA Headquarters. The promotion makes her the agency's highest-ranking PHS officer, and its sole flag officer.

 

RADM Krista Pedley will mark her 20th anniversary with the U.S. Public Health Service this May, having risen into an elite group of officers encompassing fewer than one percent of the the 6,500-strong Commissioned Corps. The flag rank of Rear Admiral ratifies Pedley as command-ready and suited to lead PHS officers on all missions, foreign and domestic.

Nominated last August, she was notified of her promotion in December by the U.S. Surgeon General.

"She is an excellent leader," HRSA Administrator Tom Engels told a sometimes emotional audience of Pedley's family, friends and colleagues on Friday. "As her promotion here today makes clear to everyone, she is an outstanding Commissioned Corps Officer. Congratulations, Krista, you make HRSA proud."

 

Left to right: Calling RADM Pedley a "walking encyclopedia of the 340B program," RADM Sylvia Trent-Adams, HHS Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, installed the new admiral's "shoulder boards" with the help of her husband Kerry Pedley. Looking on were the couple's children Nikolas and Julia.
Left to right: Calling RADM Pedley a "walking encyclopedia of the 340B program," RADM Sylvia Trent-Adams, HHS Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, installed the new admiral's "shoulder boards" with the help of her husband Kerry Pedley. Looking on were the couple's children Nikolas and Julia. Administrator Tom Engels noted in remarks that HSB's Office of Pharmacy Affairs was one of the toughest assignments in the department, due to the complexity of the drug discounting program and the sheer size of its constituency.

 

Deputy Associate Administrator Diana Espinosa added that Pedley's decade-long management of the program makes her worthy of an honorary law degree.

The program involves over 700 major drug manufacturers, which provide more than $24 billion in discounted medications through some 46,700 authorized safety net hospitals and clinics nationwide -- including HRSA-funded health centers and Ryan White HIV/AIDS clinics. Without the program, Engels observed, thousands of Americans could lose access to life-sustaining drugs.

 "I'm here today because of all of you who lifted me up," Pedley said. "When I first received the word from the Surgeon General, I'm not going to lie, I think I screamed in his ear." Pedley thanked RADM Chris Bina of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, an early mentor and friend.
"I'm here today because of all of you who lifted me up," Pedley said. "When I first received the word from the Surgeon General, I'm not going to lie, I think I screamed in his ear." Pedley thanked RADM Chris Bina of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, an early mentor and friend.

 

Pedley joined the Commissioned Corps and began her federal career at the Food and Drug Administration after earning a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. She came to HRSA six years later to be part of the agency's National Bioterrorism Preparedness Program after a particularly memorable posting in coastal Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

She had been assigned to visit hard-hit neighborhoods to instruct residents on the hazards of mold in housing and the safe use of emergency equipment like generators – only to find blocks of housing decimated. "We would show up and there was no house … demolished. That was hard."

She became director of the HRSA Office of Pharmacy Affairs in the Healthcare Systems Bureau in 2010, with overall responsibility for the 340B Program. Established in 1992, the program requires drug manufacturers to provide discounted medications to entities covered by the program so they can stretch resources and reach more patients..

"Krista has briefed the last four Secretaries of Health and Human Services about the program's impact," noted Engels. "She has also successfully testified in front of Congress three times, twice in the House and once in the Senate.  At every turn, Krista has highlighted the 340B program's value, while stressing the need for congressional action to address some of the ongoing challenges."

Pedley calls leading the program "the hardest thing I've ever done." But she adds that getting to know frontline providers and patients "has really given me the desire to want to stick with it for them."

Close knit: RADM Pedley grew up in a multi-generational family that was loosely scattered in adjoining towns in western Pennsylvania. Growing up, she recalled, her cousins were some of her closest friends. Her dad, Marion Scardina (left), ran the local car dealership. Her sister, teacher Lori Pellock (fourth from right), assisted with the invocation on Friday.
Close knit: RADM Pedley grew up in a multi-generational family that was loosely scattered in adjoining towns in western Pennsylvania. Growing up, she recalled, her cousins were some of her closest friends. Her dad, Marion Scardina (left), ran the local car dealership. Her sister, teacher Lori Pellock (fourth from right), assisted with the invocation on Friday. 

 

Born and reared in the tiny mill town of Scottdale, Pa. (population: 4,500), Pedley spent her childhood immersed in her extended family in a place with "two traffic lights and a gas station," she laughed. Her dad ran the local car dealership first established by her grandfather.

"When I went to college in Pittsburgh," she remembers, "it was quite the culture shock. But it made me appreciate my small town even more."

Pedley and her husband, a molecular biologist at the USDA, live in Urbana, Md., with their two children: the ever-precocious Julia, age 8, and four-year-old Nikolas, who believes his mother is "a ship captain," Pedley laughed.

"I want them to be proud," she said of her kids, "and to see what it means to work hard and dedicate the time and know that it all pays off. That's important to me."

Date Last Reviewed:  March 2020