I’m honored to have the chance to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of Linux Foundation Public Health. There is much to do.
My passion for public health originated in my time at the US Department of Health and Human Services – I served in the CIO’s office during 9/11 and saw firsthand the importance of public health delivery to the wellbeing of our country. It also allowed me to see the systemic challenges present in the system, from the struggles of state and federal systems interacting to the constraints that the yo-yo budgeting cycles impose upon these jurisdictions.
The events of the last eighteen months have shown that there hasn’t been meaningful structural change since my time at HHS, and since then I have seen so many times over the need across the globe to address and enhance the capabilities of public health agencies to improve population health. The pandemic has highlighted systemic inequities and need for investment, as many agencies have made herculean efforts in lieu of modern and flexible IT systems. Now there are numerous levels of investment around the world to invest in better technology for public health, not only to address COVID response but to improve our ability to understand social determinants of health (SDOH) and expand the delivery of virtual care.
Since the founding of LFPH a little over a year ago, it has become a go-to resource for governments and industry partners to get advice on the latest technologies coming to market. Over 50 jurisdictions around the world have come to trust LFPH for unbiased, clear advice on how to take advantage of technologies within our program areas of exposure notification and COVID credentials. National and global institutions such as the WHO, CDC, UN, and GAO have also invited LFPH to present at meetings, contribute to reports, and assist them in their own understanding of this technology. The Global COVID Certificate Network and standard development happening at the COVID Credentials Initiative are becoming some of the leading groups solving the challenges of interoperability between divergent systems and standards emerging around the world, and the organization’s leadership role in the Good Health Pass Collaborative has established LFPH’s voice as one of the leads in ethical, privacy-first design of public health software. With the addition of Herald, Cardea, and MedCreds, the foundation’s projects are now used in over a dozen states, provinces, and countries worldwide to help fight COVID-19 and safely reopen borders.
Meanwhile, across the entire Linux Foundation, there’s a tremendous amount of work in other areas that can offer significant contributions to LFPH in supporting public health. We have the opportunity to create new partnerships that only the LF can achieve:
- The Trust over IP Foundation is also celebrating its one-year anniversary and has been pioneering a new model for digital identity that is already being adopted in Canada and the EU. It’s also laying the groundwork for re-imagining patient identity.
- LF AI & Data is supporting open source innovation in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML), a rapidly growing technology in healthcare.
- There are numerous initiatives in Cloud Computing, which many public health agencies can leverage for system modernization.
- The Hyperledger project hosts a variety of cutting edge solutions to decentralize transactions and integrate with new supply chain models.
- The Linux Foundation is leading the charge in the US mandate on securing software supply chains, and there’s a tremendous opportunity to include LFPH and help to secure medical devices and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
While COVID is not going anywhere, LFPH is charting a path forward beyond pandemic response. We will focus on public health infrastructure worldwide to create better ways for sharing data both within and across borders, and open source software will be a key piece of solving that puzzle.