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Shifting from an Interim CIO to a Permanent Role: Five Keys

June 8, 2018
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Serving as an interim leader can be a wonderful opportunity for you in many ways
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As an interim CIO leader, you were likely selected for the value you brought to the organization. Many C-level executives are lured into an interim role while they look for something more permanent. And, it’s actually more commonplace than you might think. There are multiple ways you can turn this into a positive experience for you and your future employer.


1. You may have an opportunity to drive a new implementation or gain expertise by learning new applications that you can now add to your resume. This is a period in time where “interim” is much more in vogue, given the changes and the shift in demographics. With so many Boomers retiring, there are plenty of interim execs filling seats left by those that either retired or suddenly departed.

2. Get over the fact that you were or are currently in an interim role. The market understands the new world order as it relates to the talent shortage, and there is no need for you to make this into a big deal or feel bad about explaining your recent role in this gig economy.

3. The role you are in as an interim allows you to “test drive” the organization, its leadership and culture. How many times in your career do you get to “try it before you buy it”? Take advantage of the time you have to get to know the leadership team so you can determine if you’ll be happy long-term. You will know when you reach that fork in the road, so take advantage of the extra time you have to conduct your own due diligence. If you find yourself leaning into that role full-time, make sure you let the powers that be know that you are interested. Make sure you are connecting with your team, and help them grow by portraying your leadership and the way you conduct yourself.

4. Pace yourself as you fill the interim role, knowing you probably have three to nine months or longer as an interim leader. This should give you plenty of time to evaluate other opportunities, discover more about the geographic location, and to get to know your team and peers. Try your very best to engage with everyone on the leadership team as a peer. Immerse yourself into delivering high-quality work regardless of your intentions to stay or exit after the assignment wraps up. It’s probably a good idea to participate in social activities with your team and peers so they have a chance to see you and get to know you outside the walls of the facility.

5. Establish goals of the key items you want to learn or achieve as part of your interim assignment. You know better than anyone on which skills you need to learn or what needs your attention in terms of sharpening the skills in areas where you feel you could improve. One of your goals should be to have regularly scheduled 1:1 time with the CEO or COO to check in on the most critical items they need your help in accomplishing. Make sure they see you as a team player and that you are willing to roll up your sleeves as if you plan to stay. It will make you feel better and it will certainly help the executive team understand your value in permeant role or as a reference for you later as you continue to look for your next gig.

Serving as an interim leader can be a wonderful opportunity for you in many ways. Embrace it and you can make a difference whether you convert to a permanent role in that organization or somewhere else.

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Leadership Changes at HHS as CIO Transferred to New Role

August 21, 2018
by Heather Landi, Associate Editor
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Beth Killoran is stepping out of the role of CIO at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is moving over to a new role at the Office of the Surgeon General, within HHS.

The news was first reported by Federal News Radio. In an email, a HHS official confirmed that Killoran, who stepped up to the HHS CIO role in July 2016, has joined the Office of the Surgeon General at HHS to develop a "comprehensive information systems strategic plan for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.”

The HHS official also confirmed that Ed Simcox, the HHS Chief Technology Officer, will take on the added role of serving as the HHS Acting CIO, until a permanent selection is made. “Simcox has led multiple, large IT transformation efforts, both as an industry executive and consultant. As HHS’s CTO, he leads HHS’s efforts on enterprise data management, data sharing, technology-related healthcare innovation, and public-private partnerships,” the official said via email.

Simcox started as the HHS CTO in July after serving as acting CTO starting in May and deputy CTO since July 2017, according to Federal News Radio.

Killoran began working at HHS in October 2014, moving over from the Department of Homeland Security. At HHS, she has served as the acting Deputy Chief Information Officer and as the Executive Director for the Office of IT Strategy, Policy and Governance. The HHS official stated that Killoran has served in a number of high-level information technology positions at HHS, “providing leadership on a number of high priority projects.” Killoran also worked for the Department of the Treasury, where she provided IT infrastructure support and operations for over 20,000 employees across 1,500 locations.  During her tenure, she provided IT operational support in response to the 9/11 and Oklahoma City bombing events, the HHS official said.

Federal News Radio reporter Jason Miller reported that, during her time as HHS CIO, Killoran tried to move the agency forward in a number of areas through an updated strategic plan and a more aggressive approach to cloud adoption. “Recently, Killoran led a reorganization of the CIO’s office, naming Todd Simpson as the first chief product officer and promoting innovation,” Miller wrote.

Killoran becomes the fourth major agency CIO to be reassigned during the Trump administration, joining former Treasury Department CIO Sonny Bhagowalia, former Agriculture Department CIO Jonathan Alboum and FEMA CIO Adrian Gardner, according to Federal News Radio’s reporting.

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University of Texas Health Science Center to Launch First Doctorate Program in Health Informatics

August 17, 2018
by David Raths
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Instead of dissertation, program requires students to complete project in a healthcare organization

The School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston is creating the first doctorate degree program in Health Informatics (DHI).

At its July 26, 2018 meeting, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved and authorized the creation of the DHI program, making it the first advanced, practice degree in health informatics in the nation.

This program will offer curriculum custom-built for professionals seeking a terminal, applied degree in the field of health informatics. In order to apply, applicants must have documented executive or management-level healthcare experience. After discussions during a faculty retreat in 2016, a plan to launch the DHI was conceived.

“Many prospective students are searching for a doctorate-level degree in biomedical or health informatics but want to focus on solving real-world problems rather than hypothesis-driven research for a dissertation,” said Susan Fenton, SBMI’s associate dean for academic affairs, in a prepared statement. “After encountering numerous executive-level informatics professionals seeking an advanced degree with an applied focus, we realized there was a real need for this degree and we are very pleased to be the first school to launch the program.”

Because the program is geared towards working professionals, instruction for the DHI is in a hybrid environment with more than 50 percent of the coursework taught online. Rather than write a dissertation for the culminating project, the DHI program requires a large-scale translational project that students must complete in a healthcare organization.

SBMI held focus groups with Texas Medical Center healthcare executives, SBMI alumni and industry leaders across the country in the development of the DHI.

 “We aim to educate executives so they are skilled in the application of advanced health informatics tools and can work towards improving patient care at their organizations,” said Jiajie Zhang, SBMI’s dean and the Glassell Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Informatics Excellence, in a statement.

While executive-level career experience is required, the degree offers educational background flexibility. Students without a master’s degree in health informatics, or a related field, can enter the program with a bachelor’s degree. However, those students must complete 33 semester credit hours of didactic coursework before starting the DHI curriculum. Students who hold a master’s degree can immediately start the 63-semester credit hour program. 

The DHI program will begin in fall 2019 and SBMI will start accepting applications before the end of the 2018 calendar year.




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