With new Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler taking office this week, three of the nation's top four health jobs are now filled by close associates of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Kessler and U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello are both former aides to Hatch, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee - which oversees health issues.Their boss is Dr. James Mason, assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services. He is former director of the Utah State Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and was aided by Hatch in receiving his appointment.

HHS Secretary Louis W. Sullivan oversees them and is considered the nation's top health official.