GAO appoints 7 healthcare leaders to HITAC

Seven new healthcare leaders from diverse industry backgrounds will be joining the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee, the federal group working to implement a health IT infrastructure that advances the electronic access, exchange and use of health information in the U.S. healthcare system.


Established by the 21st Century Cures Act, HITAC and its subcommittees provide recommendations to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on policies, standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria. 

The new members, appointed by the Government Accountability Office, have served healthcare in both public- and private-sector capacities at organizations across the United States. 

Dr. Kikelomo Belizaire, the chief medical officer at Pegasystems, is also a practicing hospitalist in the Charlotte, North Carolina, region. She previously served as the medical director of Anthem’s commercial unit and as a physician treating high-acuity patients in several hospital systems in North and South Carolina, and as a healthcare consultant. 

Dr. Shila Blend is the health information technology director of the North Dakota Health Information Network, a statewide HIE. 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. She previously served the state in a number of preparedness and coordination roles, including as the deputy chief of staff for COVID-19 response.

Dr. Hannah Galvin 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 is the co-chair of the board of directors of Shift, an independent task force focused on enabling patients to manage how their health data is shared to promote equitable interoperability. Previously, Galvin was the medical director of informatics at Lahey Health and cared for underserved and vulnerable populations at hospitals in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Dr. Bryant Thomas Karras, the chief medical informatics officer and senior epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health, guides informatics and HIE efforts. He has spearheaded state healthcare initiatives, including efforts to increase adoption of health information technology, detect disease outbreaks in their early stages and more. Previously, Karras served as 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

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