Karen DeSalvo

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Karen DeSalvo
Karen B. DeSalvo.jpg
Acting Assistant Secretary for Health
In office
October 2014 – February 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded byHoward Koh
Succeeded byDon J. Wright (acting)
Personal details
Born1965/1966 (age 54–55)[1]
EducationSuffolk University (BA)
Tulane University (MPH, MD)
Harvard University (MS)

Karen Bollinger DeSalvo is an American business executive, physician and public health expert. She served as the former[2] Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and former Director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).[3] On October 17, 2019, Google appointed DeSalvo its new chief health officer.[4]


DeSalvo received her MD and MPH from Tulane University, and subsequently served as Vice Dean for Community Affairs and Health Policy there.[5]

DeSalvo served as New Orleans Health Commissioner from 2011 until 2014,[6] and New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu’s Senior Health Policy Advisor.[citation needed]

In her role as National Coordinator for health information technology from January 2014 until August 2016,[6] DeSalvo reported directly to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of HHS.[citation needed]

Beginning in October 2014 DeSalvo served as an acting Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and on May 7, 2015, she was officially nominated.[7] right before her nomination was about to expire in the Senate, it was designated for carryover to the next Congressional session. On August 11, 2016, it was announced that DeSalvo was resigning as head of the National Coordinator for Health IT to focus on her duties as Acting Assistant Secretary of Health.[8] DeSalvo left the Assistant Secretary post in January 2017.[6] On January 1, 2016, she was allowed to continue serving as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health under 5 U.S.C. § 3346(b)(2), as her nomination was being held in the Senate due to the Affordable Care Act stripping some families access to Consumer Operation and Oriented Program (CO-OP).[9] The Senate eventually returned her nomination to the President without action on January 3, 2017.[10]

Between 2017 and 2019, she taught at the University of Texas at Austin's Dell Medical School.[4] She was elected to the Humana Inc. board in November 2017. On October 15, 2019, Humana disclosed that DeSalvo was leaving the board that day to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, in connection with an unknown opportunity.[6] On October 17, 2019, Google appointed DeSalvo its new chief health officer, a newly-created role.[4]


By late 2019, DeSalvo was on several medical boards, and had been on the advisory board of Verily.[4] She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the Payment Advisory Commission.[11]


  1. ^ Executive Spotlight—Karen DeSalvo on what 'frustrates' her most about healthcare—and why she gives props to the Trump administration
  2. ^ "Karen DeSalvo (@KBDeSalvo) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  3. ^ "Office of the Secretary Staff Divisions | HHS.gov". hhs.gov. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Jennifer Elias (October 17, 2019), Google appoints former Obama health official Karen DeSalvo to new chief health officer role, CNBC, retrieved October 17, 2019
  5. ^ "Karen DeSalvo: 10 facts you may not know". 31 December 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d Chris Larson (October 15, 2019), Humana director exits to avoid appearance of conflict of interest, Louisville Business First, retrieved October 17, 2019
  7. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". whitehouse.gov. 6 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Karen DeSalvo stepping down as national coordinator to join HHS full-time". Healthcare IT News. 2016-08-11. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  9. ^ ONC Chief DeSalvo Faces Resistance to Current HHS Nomination
  10. ^ Congress.gov: PN463 — Karen Bollinger DeSalvo — Department of Health and Human Services
  11. ^ Karen DeSalvo, M.D., MPH, The University of Texas at Austin - Dell Medical School, retrieved October 17, 2019

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