Dr. Karen DeSalvo Named New ONC Chief

New Orleans Health Commissioner Joins HHS

In a letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to her staff, she announced that Dr. Karen DeSalvo will become the next National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Dr. DeSalvo is currently the Health Commissioner of New Orleans and Senior Health Policy Advisor to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. She is a graduate of Suffolk University, Tulane Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health. She starts Monday, January 13th.

The letter outlines highlights of her resume which includes:

  • Modernizing New Orleans health care system post Hurricane Katrina
  • A career advocate for the use of health information technology to improve access and quality of care along with overall population health outcomes
  • Served as President of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum the LA HIE and REC grantees
  • Led the planning and construction of New Orlean’s newest public hospital fully integrated with HIT

“Dr. DeSalvo’s hands-on experience with health delivery system reform and HIT and its potential to improve health care and public health will be invaluable assets to the Office of the National Coordinator and the Department,” Sebelius said in her letter. She also took the opportunity to thank Dr. Jacob’s leadership as the Acting National Coordinator since ONC Mostashari has left.

The Greater New Orleans Times-Picayune also reported Dr. DeSalvo’s departure and new position. The city’s Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued a statement praising DeSalvo for her contribution to the city. “From the implementation of Fit NOLA to the design of a systematic approach to identifying those with medical needs during disasters, we know that her success in making lasting, positive changes in health care will continue in her exciting new role at HHS.”

Outgoing Acting National Coordinator Dr. Jacob Reider also sent a letter to the ONC staff welcoming Dr. DeSalvo. “Her experience is a perfect fit for ONC’s role of using health IT to improve the health care system nationwide. I am certain that she will appreciate all the hard work that you have already accomplished to achieve the three-part aim,” Reider said in his letter.