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ONC Names Acting Deputy National Coordinator

December 3, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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Jon White, M.D. Credit: ONC

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) named Jon White, M.D. the acting deputy national coordinator for the agency.

White is currently serving as the acting chief medical officer as well. The plans were outlined in an email from Karen DeSalvo, M.D., the national coordinator of Health IT, to staffers. In both cases, ONC plans on finding a permanent person in the position.

White comes to ONC on loan from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), where he serves as director of the Division of Health IT. At AHRQ, White conceived and oversaw the publication of a report, “Health IT-Enabled Quality Measurement: Perspectives, Pathways, and Practice Guidance."

As deputy national coordinator, White will oversee the day-to-day work of ONC, management of senior staff, and executive oversight for the activities of all ONC offices, according to DeSalvo’s email.

White’s promotion comes at a time when there has been significant top-level turnover at the ONC. DeSlavo herself was tapped to serve as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health as part of the Ebola response team by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Following that announcement from HHS, uncertainty over her status led ONC to clarify that she will maintain her leadership at the agency. However, many industry groups have criticized the move, saying that national coordinator is not a part-time job. Others have left the ONC, including Jacob Reider, M.D., the man who White will replace as deputy.

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