Dr. Karen DeSalvo is the Chief Health Officer of Google and the Former Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DeSalvo is a physician who has focused her career toward improving access to affordable, high quality care for all people, especially vulnerable populations, and promoting overall health. She has done this through direct patient care, medical education, policy and administrative roles, research, and public service.
On October 17, 2019, Google appointed DeSalvo its new chief health officer. DeSalvo is also a professor of medicine and population health at University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School.
Formerly, she was the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, where she set high level policy and the strategic direction of the office, including efforts related to interoperability. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is at the forefront of the nation’s health IT efforts to adopt and meaningfully use health information technology, and collectively achieve health information technology interoperability, as a foundational element of better health for everyone in America.
Before joining the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, she was Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans, and Senior Health Policy Advisor to New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu, from 2011-2014. While there, she transformed the outmoded health department to one that has since achieved national accreditation, and restored health care to devastated areas of the city, including leading the establishment of a public hospital.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Dr. DeSalvo was a community leader in building an innovative and award-winning model of neighborhood-based primary care and mental health services for low-income, uninsured and other vulnerable individuals that boasts a sophisticated health IT infrastructure.
Dr. DeSalvo has received many honors, including recognition as a "Woman of Excellence in Health Care" by the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus. In 2013, Governing Magazine named Dr. DeSalvo one of nine Public Officials of the Year. The American Medical Student Association recognized her with a Women’s Leader Award in 2014. Modern Healthcare named her one of the 50 most influential physician executives in 2014.
Dr. DeSalvo earned her Medical Doctorate and Master’s in Public Health from Tulane University, and Master's in Clinical Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health. She has an honorary doctorate from her alumnus institution, Suffolk University.
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