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GAO Makes Appointments to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee – Government Accountability Office

WASHINGTON, DC (December 20, 2021) – Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of seven members to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC).
“Today’s appointees bring impressive qualifications and a range of experiences and perspectives to the HITAC’s work on such issues as the use of technology to promote care coordination, addressing the needs of children and other vulnerable populations, and supporting public health,” Dodaro said.  “These new additions, along with the existing members, will be a key source of advice for advancing the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information, as outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act.”
The newly appointed members are Hans Buitendijk, Steven Eichner, Rajesh Godavarthi, Hung Luu, Aaron Neinstein, Eliel Oliveira, and Fillipe Southerland. Each are appointed for three-year terms, and may be reappointed for subsequent three-year terms.
The 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in December 2016, established the 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.
For more information, please visit the HITAC website. Other calls should be directed to Chuck Young in GAO’s Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800.
Brief biographies of the new appointees are provided below:
Hans J. Buitendijk, MSc, is Director of Interoperability Strategy at Cerner Corporation, with a primary focus on establishing and propagating industry standards to enable interoperability across health IT systems. He represents Cerner in various industry initiatives to advance interoperability, such as HL7, CommonWell Health Alliance, Carequality Interoperability Framework, and The Sequoia Project, and serves as the chair of the Electronic Health Record Association’s executive committee. He received his Master of Science in Management Science and Industrial Engineering from the Eindhoven University of Technology.
Steven Eichner, MPA, is the Health Information Technology Lead at the Texas Department of State Health Services. He has focused on projects to improve the state’s ability to collect, manage, and share key public health data, including through the use of disease surveillance systems. He has also engaged in the development of standards, such as the United States Core Data for Interoperability and the HL7 Situational Awareness for Novel Epidemic Response standard. Mr. Eichner also moderates a support group for patients with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, and advises a patient support organization, the International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association, on technology projects. He received his Master of Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University.
Rajesh Godavarthi, MS, is the Associate Vice President of Technology and Interoperability at MCG Health, where he is responsible for their technology roadmap and interoperability strategy and for the development and maintenance of widely-used clinical decision support software. Mr. Godavarthi is also an active collaborator in the HL7 Da Vinci Project, focused on data standardization for value-based care programs, has helped to develop and provide education on HL7 FHIR standards, and serves on the board of the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange. He received his Master of Science in Computer Science from Osmania University and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Acharya Nagarjuna University.
Hung S. Luu, PharmD, MD, is the Director of Clinical Pathology at Children’s Health, a health system with hospitals in Plano and Dallas, Texas. Dr. Luu is also an Associate Professor of Pathology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He serves as the co-chair of the implementation committee for the Food and Drug Administration’s SHIELD initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the quality, interoperability, and portability of laboratory data.  He is also an active member of the informatics and standards committees at the College of American Pathologists. Dr. Luu received his Doctor of Pharmacy from Drake University and his Doctor of Medicine from Oregon Health & Science University.
Aaron Neinstein, MD, is the Vice President of Digital Health at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Health, Senior Director at the UCSF Center for Digital Health Innovation, and Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF. He has led the development and implementation of a wide range of health technology, with a focus on improving patient access and engagement through telehealth and remote patient monitoring. He also provides endocrinology and diabetes care to patients, and is active in medical education and research. He received his Doctor of Medicine from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.
Eliel Oliveira, MBA, MS, is Director, Research and Innovation, at the Dell Medical School of the University of Texas at Austin, and provides executive leadership to the Central Texas health information exchange. He has helped lead the development of a mobile patient engagement platform—with a focus on involving underrepresented populations in the design process—and a community-wide referral management platform that integrates social services referrals, clinical data, and personal needs assessments. Mr. Oliveira previously held leadership positions in information technology at the Louisiana Public Health Institute and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center. He received his Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in International Development from Tulane University.
Fillipe Southerland is the Director of Healthcare Solutions at Yardi Systems, Inc., one of the nation’s largest health information technology developers serving long-term and post-acute care providers, and is a member of Choctaw Nation. Mr. Southerland is an active participant in Carequality Interoperability Framework, where he focuses on connecting long-term and post-acute health care providers to the framework. He also serves as a commissioner for the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies, is an active HL7 member, and is a Sequoyah Fellow of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. He received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from California Polytechnic State University.
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