NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, who battled the tobacco industry and declared nicotine a drug, was named dean of the Yale Medical School on Thursday.

Kessler said he is coming to Yale to be at the forefront of shaping medical minds and making discoveries.

``These are the places where the real work gets done,'' Kessler told a news conference. ``This all comes down to training the next generation of, not just leaders, but healers.

Kessler, a 45-year-old pediatrician and lawyer, was appointed by President Bush in 1990 to clean up the FDA after a generic-drug scandal. He stayed on during the first Clinton administration, announcing his resignation in late November.

During his tenure, Kessler declared nicotine an addictive drug used to hook teen-agers on cigarettes, and published the nation's first regulations on tobacco marketing.

Yale University President Richard C. Levin lauded Kessler, calling him the most distinguished commissioner the agency ever had.

``He will be, I believe, as effective a spokesman for this school as he has been in Washington for the public health,'' Levin said.

Kessler succeeds Dr. Gerard N. Burrow, who announced in March he would not seek a second term. Kessler's appointment takes effect July 1.