NIC Advisory Committee

NIC’s Advisory Committee consists of senior leaders from key agencies and organizations within government, academia, industry, nonprofits, and philanthropy. These leaders represent domains in which NIC operates: human and social services, public health, public education, public safety, emergency medical services, health information technology, and program areas that reflect the Social Determinants of Health and Well-Being. Among other contributions, advisors provide consultation on NIC’s strategic partnerships, review and advise on NIC’s work products, and contribute their expertise to NIC’s symposia and ways to increase its relevance and sustainability. Click here to read their full bios.

Uma AhluwaliaDirector, Department of Health and Human Services, Montgomery County, MD

Uma S. Ahluwalia is currently the Director of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Health and Human Services. With over 1,600 employees, the Department is one of the largest agencies in Montgomery County and includes Aging and Disability Services; Behavioral Health and Crisis Services; Children, Youth and Family Services; Public Health Services; and, Services to End and Prevent Homelessness. Under the leadership of the department’s core team, MCDHHS has been pursuing a strong integration and interoperability agenda across the HHS enterprise over the past eleven years and are reaching a level of maturity with our work.

The Department’s budget for Fiscal Year 2018 is approximately $320 million. Caseloads for the Department in the past four years have risen dramatically as more families and individuals struggle through the tough economy.

Uma holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Delhi in India and a Specialist Post-Masters in Health Services Administration from George Washington University. Over a 29-year career in human services, she has progressively moved from case-carrying social work to executive leadership at the state and local levels.

Diane M. Carr, MA, FHIMSSDeputy ED, North Bronx Healthcare Network; Board member, HIMSS

Diane M. Carr has extensive leadership experience in IT and operations working in hospitals and health systems in New York. She served from 2006 to 2016 as CIO and deputy executive director for operations at the North Bronx Healthcare Network, which includes two public hospitals, Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital, as well as two community based health centers. In addition to Information Technology, Diane had responsibility for planning, design and construction, supply chain, security, pharmacy, engineering and maintenance, environmental services and support services. Her experience using technology to transform clinical and business processes is both wide and deep.

From 1993 to 2006 Diane was a senior executive at the Queens Health Network. The North Bronx and Queens networks are part of the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation, one of the largest municipal healthcare systems in the country.

In Queens, Diane oversaw the implementation of an electronic health record to increase patient safety and information access at the network’s two hospitals, Elmhurst Hospital Center and Queens Hospital. In 2002 the Queens network was the recipient of the 2002 Nicholas E. Davies Award for Excellence in computerized patient record implementation.

Diane began her career in healthcare at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, N.Y., where she was director of patient access services from 1992 to 1994.

Before entering the health field, she was chief of staff to a member of the New York State Legislature and Deputy General Services Commissioner, a $52 million-a-year executive government department in Suffolk County, N.Y.

Diane served as a member of the HIMSS NA Board of Directors and since 1998 has chaired a number of committees and represented HIMSS as a member of the HIT delegation visit to Israel in January 2013. For fiscal year 2017, she was selected Chair of the HIMSS NA Finance Committee. Diane joined the faculty at Stony Brook University’s School of Health Technology and Management as Clinical Assistant Professor in Health Sciences in December 2015.

She is the author of several articles on electronic health records. Diane holds a masters degree in public administration from Stony Brook University in N.Y. She also attended Harvard School of Public Health’s program in health systems management.

Dan ChavezExecutive Director, San Diego Health Connect

Daniel J. Chavez joined San Diego Beacon HIE as Executive Director in March 2013 with more than 30 years of health care information technology experience. He has an extensive track record of cultivating startups, business development and product marketing. Previously, he served as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Independa, a San Diego-based innovator that provides solutions to help the elderly remain independent. In his previous positions, Chavez was Executive Vice President at Payformance Corporation, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the medical division of Immersion Corporation, and Senior Vice President at Availity. His prior experience includes IBM, GTE, SAIC, Stellcom Technologies and CSC. He holds a BA from San Jose State University and an MBA from Stanford University.

Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MScFormer Director, Office of Nat’l Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)

Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc is a physician whose career has been dedicated to improving the health of all people, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations, through patient care, education, policy and administrative roles, research, and public service. She is currently Professor of Medicine and Population Health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. Dr. DeSalvo served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and also the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama Administration. She was previously New Orleans Health Commissioner and Vice Dean for Community Affairs and Health Policy at Tulane School of Medicine.

Peter EckartDirector, Center for Health Information Technology, Illinois Public Health Institute

Peter Eckart’s career spans over 25 years during which he has successfully spearheaded operations and project management in not-for-profit organizations. In addition to his role as Director of Health and Information Technology at the Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI), he is currently leading the National Program Office at IPHI for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative, Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH). DASH identifies barriers, opportunities, promising practices and indicators of progress for multi-sector collaborations to connect information systems and share data for community health improvement. The group co-founded the learning network All In: Data for Community Health.

Past accomplishments include the creation and direction of the Illinois Framework Stakeholder Engagement Project, where he oversaw the education, assessment and engagement for a multi-agency systems integration effort intended to lead healthcare transformation in Illinois. At IPHI, Peter created the public health data portal IQuery under a CDC grant, and led a national multi-organization environmental scan of local policy databases for healthy communities. Peter earned his master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and an undergraduate degree Business Administration from Valparaiso University, Indiana.

Hank Fanberg Director, Technology Advocacy and Innovation for CHRISTUS Health

Hank Fanberg is Director, Technology Advocacy and Innovation for CHRISTUS Health, one of the nation’s largest Catholic Health Care Systems with more than 375 care delivery sites across eight states and three countries.

He supports CHRISTUS’ system wide strategy for health information technology (HIT), focusing on legislative/regulatory policy and its impact to the health system and HIT’s in role in enabling efficient, convenient, safe, personcentric and cost effective care.

He is also the Executive Director for the Health Information Network of South Texas (ONC HIE) and is the associate project coordinator for the Texas FCC Rural Health Pilot Program, TxHINC (the Texas Health Information Network Collaborative). He is active in a number of associations including the American Hospital Association’s Health IT work group, HIMSS, The Continua Alliance and the American Telemedicine Association. He is National Interoperability Collaborative 6 adjunct faculty at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi School of Nursing. He is a board member of the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans.

He received his MBA from The University of New Orleans where he is currently a PhD student in Urban Affairs. He received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers College; he graduated from Loyola (New Orleans) University’s Institute of Politics and has guest lectured at Johns Hopkins University’s MBA program for physicians.

William (Bill) Hazel, Jr, MD Former Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia, Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives and Policy, George Mason University

William A. Hazel Jr., MD, serves as the Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives and Policy at George Mason University. Previously, he practiced orthopedic surgery in Northern Virginia until becoming Secretary of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia in January of 2010. He completed his second term in January of 2018, after serving under one Republican and one Democratic Governor. In that role, he oversaw 11 state agencies, including such diverse programs as Medicaid, Behavioral Health, Social Services, and Aging and Rehabilitation. These agencies accounted for approximately one-third of the state budget.

Among his current activities, Dr. Hazel serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Stewards of Change Institute. He became committed in SOCI’s work as a result of his extensive work on data-sharing initiatives in an effort to better inform policy and budget decisions. The opioid epidemic and early childhood development are two areas of special focus for him. During his first term as Secretary, Dr. Hazel led the Virginia Health Reform Initiative and helped establish the Virginia Center for Health Innovation. He continues to serve as the Founding Chair of ConnectVirginia, the state’s health information exchange. Among his accomplishments, Dr. Hazel negotiated an agreement with the Department of Justice to improve community services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In his second term as Secretary, Dr. Hazel devoted considerable attention to developing alignment and coordination between agencies and secretariats. He co-chaired the first Children’s Cabinet in Virginia and co-chaired the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse. He advocated for strengthening the state’s behavioral health system and for increased access to care for low-income Virginians.

Dr. Hazel has served as a Trustee of the American Medical Association, Speaker and President of the Medical Society of Virginia, President of the INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital Medical Staff, and Chair of the Medical Affairs council of the INOVA Health System. As a founding member of Commonwealth Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, he gained extensive experience working in the health care system while helping to lead a large group practice. His experience includes working as a team physician for the Chantilly High School Chargers, as an Assistant Orthopedic for the Washington Redskins football team, and as team physician for DC United.

Dr. Hazel grew up in Fauquier County on the family farm. He received his BS in Civil Engineering from Princeton University, his Medical Degree from Duke University School of Medicine, and completed his Orthopedic Surgery Residency at the Mayo Clinic before returning home to Virginia in 1988. He lives with his wife, Cindy, in Oakton, Va. They have two grown children and two very cute granddaughters.

Philip J. Leaf, PhDProfessor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Philip Leaf is a Professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with joint appointments in the Departments of Health Policy and Management and Population, Family and Reproductive Health; and in the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Education, and Arts and Sciences. He is the Director of the CDC-funded Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence and the CDC-funded Center for Adolescent Health, and an NIMH-funded pre- and postdoctoral training program in Mental Health Services and Service System Research. Dr. Leaf is the Senior Associate Director of the University-wide Urban Health Institute.

Dr. Leaf has conducted extensive epidemiologic and services research on mental disorders, substance use, and child, youth, and adult functioning. Dr. Leaf was involved in expanding the mental health services in Baltimore’s schools, and has worked with staff from Baltimore City Public Schools to expand services and efforts to create positive learning environments, and also worked with the Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore’s Head Start programs, and Juvenile Justice programs. He is currently serving as a member of the Mayor’s Steering Committee to reduce violence. Dr. Leaf has twice served as the Chair of the Mental Health Section of the American Public Health Association and has received the Special Section Award from that Association. In 2005, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award from JHU, and the Agus-Shehan Interfaith Leadership Award from the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council. In 2014 Dr. Leaf received Baltimore City’s First Baltimorphosis Award for Advocacy for Baltimore’s Youth and in 2015 he received the Thurgood Marshall Legacy Award from the Baltimore City NAACP. Since its inception, Dr. Leaf has served as a member of the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Community Advisory Board.

Timothy A. Pletcher, DHAExecutive Director, Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN)

Dr. Tim Pletcher is the Executive Director of the Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN), a public and private nonprofit collaboration dedicated to improving the healthcare experience, improving quality and decreasing cost for Michigan’s people by making valuable data available at the point of care through statewide health information sharing. Dr. Pletcher is also an Adjunct Research Investigator of Learning Health Sciences at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Previously he was the founding director for the Institute for Health and Business Insight at Central Michigan University (CMU) that provided high-end data science services to Fortune 500 companies and large organizations to extract insight and value from their data using business intelligence and predictive modeling. Some clients included Dow Chemical, General Motors, Harley Davidson, Henry Ford Health System, Partners Health, Eli Lilly, Procter & Gamble, and Steelcase. Prior to joining CMU Tim was the Chief Technology Officer at a start-up corporation funded by Oracle and PSI Net that specialized in electronic commerce and customized supply chain automation.

Tim started his career in the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering where he built advanced data networks, and was later recruited to the Medical Center to develop the Health Sciences Network. Subsequently at the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) Tim worked in Washington D.C. on the NASA EOS-DIS project supporting a Federal Inter-Agency Working Group on Data Management for Global Change Networking Activity and the Centers for Disease Control, United Nations, World Bank, and World Health Organization.

After returning to the University of Michigan from Washington D.C., Tim led an advanced technology group and served as the Director for Research and Business Information Systems at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) where he managed a team of 48 full-time staff, the production financial systems, and medical billing, and executed a number of multi- million dollar reengineering projects such as mainframe upgrades, conversion to a single patient statement, workflow automation, electronic data interchange, charge capture, and enterprise application integration (HL7). His advanced technology group focused on linking research to clinical practice for efforts like tele-health and simulation. In 2000, Tim and the Medical Readiness Trainer Project team members at UMHS received a Smithsonian-Computer World Medal for utilizing virtual reality and computer based modeling and human patient simulation to reduce medical errors.

Tim frequently presents both regionally and nationally on topics such as Health Informatics, Advanced Analytics, Data Science, and the requirements for creating a Learning Health System. He received a National Interoperability Collaborative 9 Doctorate of Health Administration and a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from Central Michigan University, and received his Bachelors of Science from the University of Michigan.

Nirav Shah, MD, MPHAdjunct Professor, Stanford University Department of Medicine

Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, is a leader in patient safety and quality, the social determinants of health, and the strategies required to transition to lower-cost, patient-centered health care. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale School of Medicine, and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. He has served as a director for public and private institutions, as the chairman of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant review panels, on the editorial boards of medical journals, and published over 100 peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Shah serves as a trustee of the John A. Hartford Foundation, and as a member of the HHS Secretary's Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030. Previously, he served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for clinical operation for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, and as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.

Rasu B. Shrestha, MD, MBAChief Innovation Officer, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

As Chief Innovation Officer, Dr. Shrestha is responsible for driving UPMC’s innovation strategy, serving as a catalyst in transforming the organization into a more patient-focused and economically sustainable system. A cross-functional team collaborator, he is committed to preparing and empowering UPMC for the future of health care. By driving alignment among stakeholders, championing new technologies, and tearing down organizational roadblocks, he creates an environment that accelerates idea generation and the conversion of ideas into reality. UPMC is an innovative $17 billion integrated payer-provider health system.

In addition to leading innovation at UPMC, Dr. Shrestha also serves as Executive Vice President of UPMC Enterprises, pushing the needle in the pursuit of a unique blend of health care intelligence, technology expertise, and entrepreneurial drive to develop inventive and commercially successful solutions that address complex health care challenges. Dr Shrestha is part of an executive team that leads over 200 technology professionals innovating towards intelligent health care, building patient- centric, valueNational Interoperability Collaborative 10 based technology solutions that are transforming the industry. Through strategic partnerships, joint development agreements, and investment in start-ups, he champions the development, implementation, and commercialization of these innovations.

Prior to leading innovation at UPMC, Dr. Shrestha served as Vice President of Information Technology and was Medical Director of Interoperability and Imaging Informatics at UPMC. Before joining UPMC, Dr. Shrestha was Informatics Director at the University of Southern California, where he was also Professor of Radiology Research at the Keck School of Medicine.

Dr. Shrestha received his medical degree from CCS University in India, completed his fellowship in informatics from the University of London, and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. He served as the Chair of the Informatics Scientific Program Committee at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and is a board member of several innovative organizations. He is also a longtime member of the Advisory Board of KLAS Research. Dr. Shrestha is also the Chairman of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Innovation Committee, and Co-chair of Health Datapalooza 2018. A frequent speaker and presenter at national and international health care, innovation, and technology conferences, he was recently recognized as “Executive of the Year” by Healthcare Dive, and was acknowledged as one of the “Top 20 Health IT Leaders Driving Change” and as a “Top Healthcare Innovator” by InformationWeek.

Stuart Venzke Health & Human Services Lead, US State & Local Government, IBM Global Business Services

Stuart Venzke leads US state and local health and human services (HHS) for IBM Global Business Services, which is IBM’s consulting and systems integration business unit. Stuart has a long career as an executive in both public sector HHS agencies and private sector consultancies serving the HHS community, working in a wide range of HHS programs including eligibility programs, child welfare service, services to the Aging, services to individuals with disabilities, workforce development/labor, and behavioral and public health.

Stuart’s focus has always been on helping HHS agencies in the US and globally become more efficient, effective and responsive to the clients they serve by improving business processes and applying innovative technology to address HHS business problems.

Paul WormeliInnovation Strategist, Wormeli Consulting, and Director, Stewards of Change Institute

Paul Wormeli consults for government and the commercial sector in the application of information technology to public service. He has introduced innovative programs in public policy as well as innovations in the use of technology. He has been active in the development of software products, has managed system implementation for dozens of agencies throughout the world, and has managed national programs in support of advanced information sharing.

Mr. Wormeli was appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Deputy Administrator of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) in the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Wormeli helped design the first mobile computing equipment sold in this county to law enforcement agencies. At Project SEARCH, he led the development of a common protocol for interconnecting diverse proprietary protocols to enable the nationwide sharing of criminal history information. Mr. Wormeli managed the staff work and wrote much of the report for the Information Systems section in the report of the National Commission on Standards and Goals for Criminal Justice. He has been an advisor to the White House on security and privacy, participated in the drafting of Federal law on this topic, and responsible for the development of numerous state plans to implement the Federal and state laws on information system security and privacy. During his tenure in the Justice Department, he served on the President’s Committee on Drug Enforcement. Mr. Wormeli is an author and lecturer on applying information technology to public service.

Mr. Wormeli created and was the first full-time Executive Director of the IJIS Institute, a non-profit dedicated to engaging industry in helping government agencies improve information sharing using advanced technology. In this capacity, he was the first Chairman of the NIEM Communications and Outreach Committee. He has served on the technical advisory committee for the Harvard School of Government Innovator’s Network and on the NASCIO Information System Architecture Working Group. In 2009, Mr. Wormeli was appointed to serve on the Committee on Law and Justice (CLAJ) of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2011, Mr. Wormeli was named by Government Technology magazine as one of the Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers in Public Sector Innovation in the U.S. Also in 2011, the National Association for Justice Information Systems (NAJIS) awarded Mr Wormeli the Kelly Bacon award for “Outstanding Service to the Justice Information Technology Community”. In 2012, Wormeli was named as a Senior Fellow in the Homeland Security Policy Institute of the George Washington University. In 2015, Mr. Wormeli was awarded the Robert P. Shumate award for a lifetime of service to the law enforcement and justice community.

Mr. Wormeli holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of New Mexico, and a Master of Engineering Administration degree from the George Washington University. He undertook courses in the honors program for industry as a part of the doctoral program in Engineering Economic Systems at Stanford University. He received a certificate in Cross-Boundary Transformation from the John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Education program at Harvard University. Mr. Wormeli is an adjunct professor in the College of Professional Studies at the George Washington University.

Mariann Yeager, MBAChief Executive Officer, The Sequoia Project

Mariann Yeager has more than 20 years of experience in the health information technology field. She currently serves as CEO for The Sequoia Project, a non-profit solely focused on advancing secure, interoperable nationwide health data sharing in the US. The Sequoia Project serves as a steward of independently governed health IT interoperability initiatives including the eHealth Exchange, Carequality, and the RSNA Image Share Validation Program. Under her leadership, the eHealth Exchange has more than quadrupled connectivity, making it not only the first but the largest public-private health data sharing network in the US, connecting more than 65% of all US hospitals, four federal agencies, and supporting 109 million patients including active duty, retired, and veteran service members and their families. Ms. Yeager also led the successful launch of Carequality which is now interconnecting data sharing networks much like the telecommunications industry did for linking cell phone networks.

Prior to her tenure at The Sequoia Project, she worked with the HHS Office of National Coordinator (ONC) for five years on nationwide health information network initiatives. She also led the launch and operation of the first ambulatory and inpatient EHR certification program in the US.