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Role Model

Karen DeSalvo

Class of 2012 | Google

Annually since 1986, YLC has selected a class of outstanding New Orleanians who serve as Role Models by actively contributing to the betterment of the Greater New Orleans region. These individuals are an inspiration to YLC’s young professional members and to the community at large.

Our 2020 Role Model Class is comprised of past role models from YLC's 34-year history. Revisiting our Role Models is an opportunity to learn about their changes in leadership, leadership lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what makes them Proud to Call New Orleans Home.

Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., is Chief Health Officer at Google Health. She is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine and Population Health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. She is a nationally recognized health policy leader working at the intersection of medicine, public health, and information technology to improve the health of people and their communities. DeSalvo was an instrumental leader in the effort to re-engineer health care in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. This included a multi-sectoral collaborative to drive a community based and focused model grounded in primary care, enabled by health information technology, and supported by a value-based payment. She served as Assistant Secretary for Health (Acting) and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama Administration. While at HHS, she launched Public Health 3.0, a vision for 21st-century public health. DeSalvo was previously the New Orleans Health Commissioner. Prior to that role, she was Vice Dean for Community Affairs and Health Policy at Tulane School of Medicine and Chief of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. She is co-convener of the National Alliance to Impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH). She serves as a director on the board of Welltower, is a member of the Verily Life Sciences Advisory Board, and a Commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). She served on the Humana Board of Directors from 2017 to 2019. Dr. DeSalvo is the current President of the Society of General Internal Medicine and is the Honorary Vice President, United States, for the American Public Health Association. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine where she serves on the Culture of Health Board, was a member of the Committee on Integrating Social Needs are into Health Care and the NAM/RWJF Assessing Community engagement in Health and Health Care. She earned her M.D. and M.P.H. from Tulane University, and M.Sc. from the Harvard School of Public Health and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation General Physician Faculty Scholar.