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Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc.

Portrait of Karen B. DeSalvo

Karen DeSalvo serves as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where she is leading the nation’s charge to develop an interoperable health IT system that will help to improve the health of consumers no matter where they live, work and play. Her career has focused her career on improving access to affordable, high quality care for all people, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations.

Before joining HHS, she served as the City of New Orleans Health Commissioner from 2011–2014. While there, she transformed an out-of-date health department into one that has since achieved national accreditation, and restored health care to devastated areas of the city, including leading the establishment of a new, state-of-the-art public hospital.

Prior to her work for the City of New Orleans, Dr. DeSalvo was a Professor of Medicine and Vice Dean for Community Affairs and Health Policy at Tulane University School of Medicine. She led efforts in post-Katrina New Orleans to build an innovative model of neighborhood-based primary care and mental health services for low-income, uninsured and other vulnerable individuals, one that now boasts a sophisticated health IT infrastructure. She earned her medical doctorate and master’s degree in public health from Tulane University, and master’s in Clinical Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health.