50 Most Influential Clinical Executives
National coordinator for health information technology,
Dr. Karen DeSalvo is the current and fifth head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS and may become the ONC's longest serving of its chiefs so far. She also is the only one to have held two federal posts at the same time. Last spring, DeSalvo was appointed assistant secretary of health at HHS, and she's been pulling double duty ever since. As a former New Orleans health commissioner, DeSalvo brought to her HHS duties both experience in and a passion for public health. She's also focused the office on improving the way electronic health record systems communicate with one another—what's known in health IT circles as interoperability. DeSalvo, 50, has served as the federal government's health IT coordinator since January 2014 and has said she intends to stay put through the end of the Obama administration, which would give her a three-year term, longer than any of her four predecessors.