DeSalvo stepping away from national coordinator for health IT role


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Karen DeSalvo is leaving her position as national coordinator for health IT to pursue her second role as the acting assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services full time.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell named Vindell Washington, currently the principal deputy national coordinator in the department’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, to replace DeSalvo.

“Karen has served tirelessly as the National Coordinator since joining the Department in January 2014,” Burwell wrote in a staff announcement. “Under her leadership, ONC has advanced interoperability across the health system – which underpins progress on a wide range of department and administration priorities. She has also made significant advances to the Health Information Technology Certification Program to promote and expand the safe and secure flow of electronic health information when and where it matters most for individuals and clinicians.”

DeSalvo has been serving in both positions since Burwell appointed her as her acting assistant in October 2014 to help in the fight against Ebola. She joined ONC in January 2014 replacing Farzad Mostashari, who left the previous October.

During her time at ONC, DeSalvo has lead updates to the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and development of the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap.

As her replacement, Washington will “continue to lead the administration’s efforts to leverage health information technology to reform how we pay for and deliver care; transform health research and innovation to empower clinicians, individuals and communities to manage their health; and oversee implementation of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap to unlock digital health data and ensure it is widely accessible, usable, and transferable throughout the public and private sectors,” Burwell wrote.

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Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Departments, Karen DeSalvo, Sylvia Burwell, Vindell Washington