Karen DeSalvo Appointed New Head of ONC

Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, was appointed the new National Coordinator of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) on Dec. 19. The announcement was made via an e-mail to staffers from Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, according to Government Health IT.

DeSalvo permanently replaces Farzad Mostashari, MD, who stepped down from the post in September. Jacob Reider, MD, has been leading the agency in the interim. DeSalvo’s first day at ONC will be January 13, 2014.

DeSalvo currently serves as the City of New Orleans health commissioner and senior health policy advisor to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. According to the memo, DeSalvo was instrumental in modernizing New Orleans’ healthcare system and increasing access to care in the city’s low-income areas.

Additionally, DeSalvo “has advocated increasing the use of health information technology (HIT) to improve access to care, the quality of care, and overall population health outcomes — including efforts post-Katrina to redesign the health system with HIT as a foundational element.  She served as President of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, the Louisiana lead for their health information exchange and regional extension center grants.  She has also served as a member of the Steering Committee for the Crescent City Beacon Community grant,” the memo states.

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