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HHS Names New Health-IT National Coordinator

By Clinical Informatics News Staff  
December 20, 2013 | Dr. Karen DeSalvo will be the next National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced yesterday. Her first day will be January 13. 
DeSalvo is an internist, and currently serves as the City of New Orleans Health Commissioner and Senior Health Policy Advisor to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. In the announcement, Sebelius cited DeSalvo’s work modernizing the New Orleans health care system with IT as a foundational component, and her efforts to increase access to care by augmenting the city's neighborhood-based medical homes for low income, uninsured and other vulnerable populations in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina. 
“As the New Orleans Health Commissioner she has made the increased utilization of HIT a cornerstone of the city's primary care efforts and a key part of the city's policy development, public health initiatives and emergency preparedness. Further, she has led the planning and construction of the city's newest public hospital, which will have a fully-integrated HIT network.  Her work as commissioner has led to positive changes to the way healthcare providers deliver care to their patients, improved accessibility and outcomes for patients, and improved the health of all New Orleanians,” Secretary Sebelius said. 
Carla M. Smith, Executive Vice President of HIMSS, applauded the appointment. “Dr. DeSalvo… has a deep understanding of the value of informatics, as well as of the challenges and promise of interoperability. That insight will be essential as she transitions to lead ONC’s efforts to assist U.S. clinicians and healthcare organizations as they move into Stage 2 of Meaningful Use,” she said. 
DeSalvo is a graduate of Suffolk University, Tulane Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health. She replaces Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, who left the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in early October 2013. Dr. Jacob Reider has been serving as the acting national coordinator in the interim. 


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