Friends and colleagues are mourning the sudden death of Vicki Hitchins, Ph.D., a research microbiologist in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hitchins was killed after her car struck a tree early Friday morning in Silver Springs, Maryland. She was 71.
“This is heartbreaking,” said Joe Lewelling, vice president of emerging technologies and health IT at AAMI. “I have known Vicki for about 25 years, and she was much more than a colleague – she was a good friend.”
Hitchins, an expert in cytotoxicity testing, co-chaired the AAMI Sterilization Standards Committee for almost 20 years and was a member of numerous other standards working groups and committees, including ISO/TC 194, Biological and clinical evaluation of medical devices. She led the U.S. delegation to ISO/TC 198, which focuses on the sterilization of health care products, for 17 years and spoke at the 2011 AAMI/FDA Medical Devices Reprocessing Summit. Hitchins also played a significant role in AAMI publications, participating as an expert on roundtable discussions, serving as an Editorial Board member for sterilization editions of Horizons, and co-authoring numerous articles that appeared in B&IT and other AAMI publications.
AAMI Board Chair Phil Cogdill, who worked with Hitchins on a number of committees, said: “Vicki was a pleasure to work with. She was a down-to-earth scientist and loved her microbiology research at the FDA. She will be missed by all but especially by those around the world who know her for her steadfast work in standards. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time.”
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