Despite President Obama’s announcement last week that he has nominated her to be Assistant Secretary for Health, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Karen DeSalvo, M.D., will remain in her current position at ONC “for some time” as she awaits confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

“I am here today and here in general,” DeSalvo told Tuesday’s meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee. “We have a lot to do still and into the future and I’m looking forward to continuing that pathway with you all.”

Also See: Reaction to DeSalvo Nomination Upbeat despite ONC Departure

DeSalvo emphasized Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell’s ongoing commitment and support for ONC and the agency’s work. She said Burwell “considers the health IT portfolio to be essential to her major initiatives—delivery system reform, precision medicine, and opioids.”

According to DeSalvo, should she be confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Health she promised to “continue to be very involved in health information technology” as Burwell’s “senior public health and medicine advisor.”

In October 2014, DeSalvo was designated as Acting Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS to help spearhead the Obama administration’s Ebola efforts, continuing her duties as National Coordinator for Health IT on a part-time basis.  Before joining ONC in January 2014, she served as Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, and also as Senior Health Policy Advisor for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu from 2011 to 2014.

The White House announced on May 7 that DeSalvo’s nomination as Assistant Secretary of Health had been sent to the Senate for its consideration. If confirmed, DeSalvo would replace Howard K. Koh, M.D., who resigned last year after spending five years as the 14th Assistant Secretary for Health, overseeing 12 core public health offices including the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, 10 regional health offices nationwide, and 10 presidential and secretarial advisory committees.

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