Former ONC chief Karen DeSalvo to join Dell Medical School

DeSalvo, who also served as Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS, will be a professor in Dell Med's Department of Internal Medicine, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Population Health.
By Mike Miliard
04:04 PM
Former ONC chief Karen DeSalvo to join Dell Medical School

Karen DeSalvo, MD, who served as National Coordinator for Health Information Technology from 2014 to 2016 and U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health from 2014 to 2017, will join the faculty at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.

A longtime leader in public health and information technology, DeSalvo was commissioner of health for the City of New Orleans (she worked to help the wire the city's healthcare infrastructure following Hurricane Katrina), before being appointed by President Obama to lead ONC – and, later, coordinate HHS' response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

[Also: Karen DeSalvo lays out vision for 'Public Health 3.0,' focuses on social determinants of health]

When she joins the UT faculty in January, DeSalvo will work in the Division of Primary Care and Value-Based Health, with professorships in both the Department of Internal Medicine and in the Department of Population Health.

Dell Med officials say DeSalvo will focus on an array of initiatives that make use of work being done at UT on community health, medical care and research related to the social determinants. She'll also look for innovations in applying technology and digital health to traditional public health programs and strategies.

"Karen is an absolute star who is defining the future of medicine," said Clay Johnston, MD, dean of the Dell Medical School, in a statement. "She recognizes that data is the key to improving the health of populations. This also demonstrates the important role Dell Med can play in vital ongoing policy conversations, at every level of government, about ways to move the system’s focus toward health, not healthcare.

"Awareness that health means more than healthcare cuts across the Dell Medical School," added DeSalvo, in a statement. "As a brand-new institution, it has a unique opportunity to design an educational, clinical and community approach to health."

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