Statement from Carla M. Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has made an excellent selection in appointing Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc  as the new National Coordinator for Health IT, replacing Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, who left the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in early October 2013. Dr. DeSalvo, who currently serves as the Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans and Senior Health Policy Advisor to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, will join ONC on January 13, 2014.

HIMSS notes Dr. DeSalvo’s long history of leadership in bringing the benefits of health IT to Louisiana. She served as President of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, the Louisiana lead for the state’s health information exchange and regional extension center grants, and was a member of the Steering Committee for the Crescent City Beacon Community grant.  She also advocated for expanded use of health IT by New Orleans’ primary care providers, and ensured that the city’s newest public hospital will utilize a fully-integrated health IT network.

Dr. DeSalvo, who spoke at HIMSS13 in New Orleans earlier this year, 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.

HIMSS looks forward to collaborating with Dr. DeSalvo and the entire ONC team, as we work to underscore the value of health IT as a foundational resource in achieving healthcare transformation.