Karen DeSalvo, MD, the former national coordinator for health information technology for the federal government, has landed a new position with the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.

DeSalvo will join the faculty at the school in January, where she will teach and research health policy.

At the school, she will serve as a professor in the Division of Primary Care and Value-Based Health, with a primary appointment in the Department of Internal Medicine and a secondary appointment in the Department of Population Health.

School executives say they expect DeSalvo to work on projects that will impact different parts of the medical school and take advantage of work at the University of Texas that includes community health, medical care and research related to the social determinants of health.

Photograph by Brad Trent

Harkening back to her leadership role in the federal government, DeSalvo will be looking to leverage technology and digital health in traditional public health programs and strategies.

“Dell Medical School, as a brand-new institution, has a unique opportunity to design an educational, clinical and community approach to health,” DeSalvo said. “The innovation that’s happening here is exciting, and I look forward to joining the dynamic and distinguished team of leaders.”

Already on the staff of the medical school are health policy experts Mark McClellan, who led the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush, and Lisa Kirsch, a veteran Texas Health and Human Services Commission leader who specializes in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

DeSalvo was named to head the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in early 2014, but then stepped down from the role in August 2016. She remained in the federal government as assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, stepping down this past February with the change to the Trump administration.

She previously served as New Orleans Health Commissioner and New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu’s Senior Health Policy Advisor.

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