Taha Kass-Hout serves as U.S. Food and Drug Administration's first Chief Health Informatics Officer, bringing over sixteen years of experience in health, public health, and informatics. He has experience providing long and short-term strategic, operational, and tactical planning activities for the public and private sector. He is credited with launching the first Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) program hosted completely in the Internet Cloud, in alignment with the White House Cloud Initiative.
In 2003, Taha played an active role in the SARS response, as the lead for information management and the development of eQuest: a web-based data collection and analysis platform for CDC and its partners. During the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009-2010, he supported CDC's rapid scale-up of monitoring hospital emergency department visits for influenza-like illness in coordination with state and local public health agencies. In 2012, he co-chaired the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Biosurveillance sub-committee dealing with "detecting aberrations from the norm."
Taha has been a strong advocate in bringing agile development practices to the federal government and a leader in open government and believes in the power of fostering an environment where collaboration and innovation can transcend organizational boundaries. He identifies opportunities where disruptive technologies and scientific methods can provide a powerful, cost effective response in an environment where timeliness can save lives.
As the Chief Health Informatics Officer (CHIO) for FDA, Taha provides leadership in the development and implementation of information systems that support the missions of the directorates, centers, physicians and scientists at FDA and serves as the subject matter expert on scientific computing and data systems. He supports systems for the review, approval and inspection of medical products and devices, food products, tobacco and veterinary medicine. In his role, Taha participates in education and research programs that support clinical quality and safety initiatives for FDA and leads various national and international committees representing the needs and requirements of the medical and clinical community, while serving as an advocate for the use of information technology in the medical and clinical setting.
Taha holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, and a Master of Science from the University of Texas, School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics. In addition, he has had clinical training at Harvard's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston.