Google appoints former Obama health official Karen DeSalvo to new chief health officer role – CNBC

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Google confirmed on Thursday that it’s hired Karen DeSalvo, a former health official in the Obama administration, as its first chief health officer.

The addition of DeSalvo, who’s spent the past two years teaching at the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School, comes weeks after Alphabet tapped former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert M. Califf to lead the company’s health and strategy policy.

Both Califf and DeSalvo will start later this year.

Google and parent company Alphabet are investing broadly in the health industry, from researching new drugs and devices to bolstering its cloud-computing business to serve more companies in the life sciences. Late last year, Google hired David Feinberg, who had served as CEO of Geisinger, to oversee its expansion in the $3 billion health care sector. 

Reporting to Feinberg, DeSalvo will advise Google on providers, doctors and nurses across the company’s cloud unit and Alphabet’s life sciences arm Verily, where she’s been on the advisory board. DeSalvo, who sits on a number of medical boards, previously served as assistant health secretary and national coordinator for health information technology in President Obama’s Health and Human Services department.

Feinberg has been consolidating teams across the company, including its hardware division and artificial intelligence division DeepMind, which announced its biggest breakthrough in health last month.

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