Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has named Karen DeSalvo, M.D., the health commissioner for the City of New Orleans, as the new national coordinator for health information technology.

DeSalvo will start at ONC on January 13 and succeeds acting national coordinator Jacob Reider, M.D., who took over when Farzad Mostashari, M.D., left in early September. Reider will return to his post as ONC Chief Medical Officer.

An internal medicine specialist, DeSalvo was active in efforts to redesign New Orleans’ health care system following Hurricane Katrina with HIT as part of the foundation, according to information from HHS. She is very familiar with ONC’s mission and work, having served as president of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, which oversees the state’s federally funded health information exchange and HIT regional extension center programs, and also served on a steering committee for the city’s Beacon Community grant.

A graduate of Suffolk University, Tulane Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and Harvard School of Public Health, DeSalvo, has been the health commission for two years and previously served as vice dean of community affairs and health policy at Tulane for 19 years.

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