Rick Rutherford served in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman for five years on active duty. His duties included six months providing direct patient care on the Surgical Ward at the Naval Submarine Medical Center in Groton, Ct, and then served in the Environmental Health office. After attending the Environmental Health Technicians School, he was assigned to the Mobile Construction Battalion 40. While assigned to the battalion, he performed inspectional duties, conducted training classes in food service, field medicine and medical topics and provided direct patient assessment and treatments under the supervision of a medical officer. He served an additional four years and 5 months in the US Naval Reserves as a Hospital Corpsman providing training to junior corpsman in medical topics, served as an American Heart Association instructor and was assigned to a Mobile Combat Zone Hospital Unit.
Rick completed a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology with a strong emphasis in Environmental Sciences, after leaving the US Navy. He accepted a position as an Environmental Specialist with the State of Oklahoma serving as a County Sanitarian in multiple program areas and later as an Enforcement Officer in the Central Offices of Food Protection covering 17 counties and provided to training to supervisory personnel. He performed inspections of manufacturers, wholesalers and food service retailers, who were placed on the department’s enforcement list. He developed regulations for compressed medical gases and drug warehouse inspections and policy statements for questions directed to the office.
He accepted a commission from the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in July 1988 and an assignment to the US Food and Drug Administration. He trained in Dallas District office Investigation Branch as an Investigator and principally worked in the Blood Bank and Plasma Center inspections for the first 3 years. After a year in the Agency’s Shellfish Program, he returned to the Office of Regulatory Affairs as an Investigator in the Kansas City District. He conducted inspections of medical device manufacturers, Cobalt 60 and EO contract sterilizers, drug and active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers, biomedical research and institutional review boards, blood banks, plasma centers, human tissue and medicated feeds, tissue residue investigations, complaint follow-up and consent decree compliance inspections. He served on the cadre for the Industrial Sterilization of Drugs and Devices Course in 2008 and 2009.
In 1999 Rick was Certified at Level II in Medical Device Inspections and in 2003 became a Performance Auditor for Medical Devices and provided training to candidates for the Accredited Persons third-party inspection program. He held a Certification in Blood Bank and Plasma Center inspections beginning in 2002. He was one of a handful of investigators to be certified in more than one major FDA program area. He served one year on the International Medical Device Cadre in the Office of Regulatory Affair’s International Inspections Division performing only medical device inspection internationally.
He retired from the US Food and Drug Administration after 25 year and 30 years of Active Duty service (combined US Navy and USPHS) at the rank of Commander.