The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has appointed seven new members to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC), including health information exchange executives, a patient advocate, and two chief medical information officers.
The 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in December 2016, established HITAC and gave the Comptroller General responsibility for appointing at least 14 of the members. In addition, 11 members are appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Majority and Minority leaders of the Senate, and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. The committee provides recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on policies, standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria relating to the implementation of a health information technology infrastructure that advances the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information.
“HITAC is composed of individuals committed to improving the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information. Each year, many outstanding candidates express an interest in serving on the committee,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO, in a statement.
The new appointees are:
• Kikelomo Belizaire, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., is the Chief Medical Officer at Pegasystems, where she supports the company’s industry solutions for health systems, health plans, and life sciences organizations. Dr. Belizaire is also a practicing hospitalist in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. She previously served as the medical director of Anthem’s commercial unit, as a physician treating high-acuity patients in several different hospital systems in North and South Carolina, and as a healthcare consultant.
• Shila Blend, Ph.D., M.S., is the Health Information Technology Director of the North Dakota Health Information Network, North Dakota’s statewide health information exchange. She also serves as a subject matter expert with the Rural Emergency Medical Services Counts project, which is working to develop quality measures for emergency medical services in rural areas. Previously, she served in a number of positions with the state of North Dakota, including as the Deputy Chief of Staff for COVID-19 response, as the Director of the Hospital Preparedness Program, and as Coordinator for the state’s stroke and cardiac systems of care.
• Hannah Galvin, M.D., is the Chief Medical Information Officer of Cambridge Health Alliance, an academic public safety net health system, where she leads the Division of Clinical Informatics and practices as a pediatrician. She also holds an assistant professorship through Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Galvin is the co-chair of the board of directors of Shift, an independent task force focused on enabling patients to manage how their own sensitive health data are shared to promote equitable interoperability. Previously, Dr. Galvin was the Medical Director of Informatics at Lahey Health, Senior Manager of Clinical Effectiveness at athenahealth, Inc., and practiced at several hospitals in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, where her clinical focus was on caring for underserved and vulnerable populations.
• Bryant Thomas Karras, M.D., is the Chief Medical Informatics Officer and Senior Epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health, where he guides informatics and health information interoperability efforts. He has led various state efforts, including those related to promoting widespread adoption of health information technology, early detection of disease outbreaks, patient immunization histories, prescription drug monitoring, and COVID-19 exposure notification. Previously, Dr. Karras was a research scientist and assistant professor with the University of Washington, and an internal medicine physician at a number of hospitals in Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.
• Anna McCollister is a patient advocate, entrepreneur, and advisor on various health technology, data use, and health care quality initiatives. She brings her experience as a patient with type 1 diabetes to each of these activities. Ms. McCollister has served on a number of national committees, including on a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee focused on endocrinologic and metabolic drugs, and on a National Quality Forum committee on quality measures for primary care and chronic illness. She was also the Chief Advocate for Participatory Research at the Scripps Translational Science Institute and served as a consultant to life sciences, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology clients.
• Deven McGraw, J.D., M.P.H., is Lead for Data Stewardship and Data Sharing at Invitae Corporation, a medical genetics company. She co-founded and was the Chief Regulatory Officer of Ciitizen, a health technology company acquired by Invitae that works to enable patients to collect, manage, and share their medical information. Her previous experience includes serving as the Deputy Director of Health Information Privacy within the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, as the Acting Chief Privacy Officer for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, and as a partner with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.
• Naresh Sundar Rajan, Ph.D., M.S., is a Chief Data Officer at CyncHealth (formerly known as the Nebraska Health Information Initiative), where he leads health information exchange data and modernization initiatives. He also serves to support the technical architecture for the exchange of prescription drug monitoring information through the Prescription Monitoring Information Exchange Standards Organization, and on a community advisory board to help foster health-related research in Great Plains states with large rural and underserved communities. Before joining his current organization, he worked for the state of Utah on analytics to share information on medication prescriber practices, and for the state’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program