Karen DeSalvo, MD Leaving ONC for Ebola Response Team

Karen DeSalvoNational Coordinator for Health Information Technology for HHS,  Karen DeSalvo, MD, is leaving the position to become Acting Assistant Secretary of Health. In her new position, DeSalvo will join the administration’s Ebola response team.

ONC’s Chief Operating Officer, Lisa Lewis, will serve as the Acting National Coordinator at ONC. Deputy National Coordinator Dr. Jacob Reider is also leaving the agency.

“HHS Secretary Burwell asked National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo to serve as acting assistant secretary for health, effective immediately,” according to a statement from ONC spokesman Peter Ashkenaz. “In this role she will work with the secretary on pressing public health issues, including becoming a part of the department’s team responding to Ebola.”

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, in a notice to her staff, welcomed DeSalvo, saying, “As the acting assistant secretary for health, Karen’s experience as a practicing physician, a senior member of the HHS team, and as a nationally recognized leader in public health, will be invaluable to the department and me.” “She will bring her knowledge and real-world experience to bear on some of the most important issues confronting our department, especially our Ebola response efforts,” Burwell said.

DeSalvo had previously served as New Orleans health commissioner and has roots in public health.She was appointed as National Coordinator  in December 2013, taking over from Reider, who had been serving as Acting National Coordinator when Farzad Mostashari, MD stepped down last October.